Monday February 25, 2013

History pinned

Last summer I saw founder Nick Stanhope introduce Historypin to Australian users at the Powerhouse Museum, and Mary-Lou Byrne subsequently selected some Local Studies images to pin to the map (Weddell’s record shop is worth a gander next time you’re walking towards Mosman Junction). Last week Jon Voss, one of Historypin’s Directors, spoke at a users group meetup at the Powerhouse.

Although aimed at individuals – Historypin was built to spark conversations across the generations – Jon said there were now 1,000 institutions taking part in the pinning.

Some have been very active, like the State Library of NSW, who have mapped more than 800 photos. The bulk of these were uploaded during a successful 12 week trial of the site. Mylee Joseph’s team coordinated the project and you can read more about it in The social life of photographs: where, when and what happened?

The benefit for the user walking Sydney is that they can see historic photos from the State Library’s collection, but also those of State Records NSW and and smaller, local collections (like Mosman Library). The ability to see multiple archives in one place is very powerful.

The most interesting and inspiring use case was presented by The Benevolent Society, Australia’s oldest charity, who are celebrating 200 years in 2013. Their community are mapping their story with Historypin but in a way, The Benevolent Society have been doing this offline for many years. They advocate reminiscence therapy through photo books and shared stories to help, for example, those with dementia and their families.

As we’ve learnt with the Mosman Great War project, people love to do detective work on historic photographs, and Historypin have worked with the Imperial War Museum recently to experiment with crowdsourcing and ‘The Participatory Museum’ concept.

Jon also pointed to The Abolitionist Map of America that accompanies a PBS documentary:

Watch Map History With Us! on PBS. See more from American Experience.

Historypin really comes into its own on a smartphone in situ, and the iPhone app has been improved significantly. It’s a free download. Unfortunately, says Jon, the Android version is still lagging behind in terms of functionality and usability, but it’s a known problem that’s being tackled. And Windows Phone owners, you are not left out.

With a now-bulging Local Studies Digital Archive we hope to pin more Mosman photos to the map, and hope you do too.

Mosman Library’s channel on Historypin

— Posted by Bernard D, Internet Coordinator in  |  Permalink

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