Seeking Contributions to Remember Abraham Lincoln

The following is a guest blog post from the crack team at Ford’s Theatre, who are combing personal and institutional collections the world over to help document, recreate, and share the sentiments of the days following Lincoln’s assassination.  Do you have something to contribute?

The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., on Friday, April 14, 1865, shook the nation and the world. People expressed a range of emotions—shock, sadness, jubilation—and shared their thoughts and feelings in a wide variety of ways.

Phoenix Steam Fire Engine No. 3 of Detroit as it apeared in the funeral procession of the late President, shared by Detroit Historical Society

To capture that emotion and connect people with it today, we at the Ford’s Theatre Society, along with over a dozen partner organizations, are in the process of creating a digital collection called Remembering Lincoln.

Our goal is to make this national story local, for people around the United States and around the world. Yes, many of the major events took place in the area surrounding Washington. But literally millions of people turned out in the cities where Lincoln’s funeral train traveled, such as Columbus, Ohio.

Beyond those places, people mourned—and a few celebrated—in localities all over the map.  It has been remarkable to learn of the varied responses and letters of condolence that ambassadors and others received from around the globe.

To represent those responses – local to each community – Ford’s Theatre is working with a range of partner organizations—many of them state and local historical societies—to digitize relevant items in their collections. These can include diaries, newspapers, letters, photos, engravings, mourning ribbons, pieces of clothing, poems—any way that people represented their responses. We are in the process of creating a website to display those items.

Here  are some of the ways that people expressed their responses in the days and weeks after the assassination:

But we also know that our partner organizations don’t have all of the responses to the assassination in their collections. Many responses are hidden away, whether in libraries, archives, museums, local historical societies, or even people’s attics.  And those responses may help shed light on the world of 1865 and better understand how people were living their lives and who we are today as a result.

Thus, we’re working with Historypin to help surface some of these buried treasures. On our project page, you can see items that have come in—and pin your own!

Already, a treasure has come to the surface. Not long after we launched our project on April 14 (the 149th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination), Laura Goetz of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, remembered a display case in the Portage County Courthouse, where she often works. The display case contains items several items from Wisconsin soldier W.H. Noble, who served in the honor guard on Lincoln’s funeral train.

So, Laura went to the courthouse, took some photos, and started pinning them to Historypin! After we emailed with each other, she went to talk with the Clerk of Courts, who was thrilled that the items in the display case would be part of a national project. They managed to track down the owner—a descendant of Noble—and are working with her to digitize the items.

We need your help to bring more items like these to the surface! Do you, or does your organization, have a relevant response to the Lincoln assassination? Read more about what we’re looking for, then pin it to our Historypin page!

Once you do, we’ll ask you some questions about the item, and then potentially put it into the Remembering Lincoln digital collection.

Reflections on Putting Art on the Map

Over the last year we have been running Putting Art on the Map in partnership with the Imperial War Museum. With funding from the Nesta R&D Digital Innovation Fund we were able to test if crowdsourcing an art collection, in online and offline spaces, could generate deeper engagement with the collection. Through mystery-solving tools on Historypin and a series of live events with other institutional partners, we explored different ways of inviting the public to participate, collaborate and contribute new pieces of information to the artworks. The contributions fed into a co-curated Google Art Project by Dr Alice Strickland and the data gathered flowed back into IWMs’ collections.

Throughout the project there were strong examples of public contributions and evidence of deep engagement. However, the primary insight from by this project was that while metadata crowdsourcing in this form can deepen the social engagement of audiences that already have an interest in the subject or collection in question, it struggles to increase the initial breadth of engagement and does not show potential to engage new audiences.
In addition to this important distinction, we learned some key lessons about how to improve a crowdsouring project focusing on deepening engagement between interested audiences and an art collection:

  • Broad, open calls to action for people interested in First World War art were not effective in engaging a wider audience, while identifying specific communities of interest and requesting their help was more useful.
  • Inviting specific communities to engage their own existing networks was more effective in generating participation than trying to build a new community around a theme or topic
  • The ability to give clarity of purpose to participants in user-generated content projects is essential for their success, as is the need to explicitly value the expertise of users.
  • A high level of curatorial input from across different institutional departments, not just the art department, is important to ensure that the correct questions are being asked and participants feel their participation is genuinely needed and valued
  • Inviting factual contributions about an art collection is more challenging than other historical materials because of the role of artistic interpretation. This was often cited by participants who felt that it wasn’t possible or relevant to add factual details. Focusing on works which were more documentary in nature helped, but it was still a barrier to soliciting factual data.

Finally, the project raised new questions and highlighted several areas that need more research, experimentation and development to better understand them before effective tools, methods and outcomes can be determined. Of greatest interest to us is the relationship between online and offline participation. This offers great potential to increase and sustain engagement, but it is not yet clear how they relate in terms of participants moving between the two spaces, or with regard to if and how digital tools might be used during a live, group event. Over the coming year we will be continuing to explore these questions through other projects and iterating both our crowdsourcing toolset and methodologies for running collaborative, offline events.

We are compiling a full Research Report which we will post here once it is completed.

4 Major Efforts to Share European Cultural Heritage

This winter has seen a flurry of activity around a number of projects related to Europeana content, and the incredible work of partners across Europe helping to increase the discovery and reuse of European cultural heritage.  We’re excited to be involved in four major cross-European collaborative projects which are now underway.  And all of this is with a huge thanks to the Europeana Foundation team and the many many partners involved, for without their many years of groundbreaking work and diehard commitment to free and open access to culture, none of this would be possible.

Europeana Creative

We’ve talked about Europeana Creative before, and this project, now in its second year, is moving along full steam.  The Historypin team is primarily involved in creating the first prototype for the Social Networks pilot, which is one of five distinct pilot projects which will in turn lead to an Open Innovation Challenge for each category.  The first Challenge event will be taking place in Brussels on 29 April.  Our pilot will provide a new user interface to allow exploration, listening and enrichment of audio content from the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision and the British Library.

Europeana Creative has also just launched the Europeana Labs, which is a fantastic new way to explore and reuse the openly licensed content made available from cultural heritage institutions across Europe.

Breandán Knowlton, Digital Product Manager of We Are What We Do, who recently joined our team from the Europeana Foundation, explains the project together with some of the other project leaders and partners.

Europeana Sounds

Building off of our work in Europeana Creative, our role in Europeana Sounds is focused exclusively on using enrichment to increase access and reuse of the massive amounts of sound archives held in institutions across Europe.  The three year, €6.14m project brings together an incredible team of 24 project participants, including 8 national libraries, 5 archive and research centres, 2 other public bodies, 3 non-profit organizations, 3 universities, and 3 companies.  Together, we seek to meet the following objectives:

  • Increase the amount of audio content available via Europeana to over 1 million and improve geographical and thematic coverage by aggregating recordings with widespread popular appeal
  • Improve their access by enriching descriptions, developing techniques for cross-media and cross-collection linking
  • Develop audience-specific sound channels that will improve search facility, navigation and user experience
  • Promote the creative reuse of recordings 
  • Identify and advocate recommendations on how to resolve domain constraints and improve access to out of commerce audio content, working with music publishers and rights holders
  • Build a network of stakeholders: specialists in technology, rights issues, software development and sound archives. The network will expand to new content-providers and mainstream distribution platforms to ensure the widest possible availability.

Europeana Food and Drink

Focusing on the rich and vibrant food and drink culture and heritage across Europe, Europeana Food and Drink will engage the general public, creative industries, cultural heritage organisations and the food and drink industries in creating, sharing, learning and making use of food- and drink related content.

Historypin will focus on building links to diverse communities of interest while exploring unique ways that heritage assets can be reused to support community, business and tourism around our oldest and cherished communal pastimes of eating and drinking together.

The project brings together 28 partners from across 16 European countries and is led by the UK-based Collections Trust. Leading content providers, creative technologists and creative industry partners are working together in order to create an evocative suite of commercial applications and products featuring food- and drink related content catered to specific audiences.

Europeana Food and Drink will achieve its objectives by:

  • Discovering, preparing, licensing and uploading 50,000 – 70,000 unique high-quality digital assets and their associated metadata to Europeana
  • Engaging the general public, retailers and distributors in campaigns and in piloting and crowding activities to encourage them to share and make use of food- and drink related content
  • Working with creative industry partners to develop a suite of innovative creative and commercial applications
  • Enhancing unique ideas via Open Innovation Challenges and extending the Europeana Open Labs network
  • Developing and sharing new knowledge, understanding and guidance on successful public/private partnerships focused on digital cultural content.

Europeana 1989

Throughout 2014, community partners across Central and Eastern Europe will be gathering the stories and memories from 25 years ago, and the events surrounding the Fall of the Iron Curtain.  As the Europeana 1989 website so eloquently states, “The way history is recorded isn’t just about what museums and institutions think is important, it’s about what real people lived through and experienced.”

Share your own stories, or learn about some of the extraordinary stories have been shared, including a special focus now on the Baltic Way: the human chain spanning three countries.

Remembering the Baa-Baas Games

Fans at the Barbarians Game, Dec 1988 (Image courtesy of Leicester Mercury at the University of Leicester)

Are you a Tigers fan with memories, photos, films and memorabilia of the annual Barbarians game? Did you go to the game every year with your family? Or work at Welford Road when it was played?

We need your help!

We are creating a digital time capsule of the Tigers vs Barbarians games and want to gather as many recollections and materials as possible. Come along to our workshops, where you can:

  • Explore the history of the Baa Baas game with other Tigers fans

  • See historical photos from the Leicester Mercury archive and help enrich them with stories and information

  • Bring your photos, films and memorabilia to be recorded, digitised and added to the time capsule

We are running three casual drop-in workshops – pop into whichever one you can make for however long you can stay.

Date: Tuesday 18th March 2014

Times:  12pm – 2pm; 4pm – 6pm; 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Location: Soft Touch Arts Centre, 50 New Walk, Leicester LE1 6TF

Refreshments will be provided.

If you have your own personal collection of photos, films or memorabilia about the Baa Baas, do bring it along to share.

If you have any queries, please email historypin@wearewhatwedo.org.

The pilot project has been delivered through the Collaborative Arts Triple Helix Project, a research project by the University of Birmingham in partnership with University of Leicester. The Collaborative Arts Triple Helix Project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as pat of their Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange programme.

Crowdsourcing for Year of the Bay with the San Francisco Chronicle


Ships transfer their cargo to railroad cars at the Oakland Long Wharf around 1909. Southern Pacific Railroad discontinued service to the wharf in 1939. SFC.

What would the Bay Area be without San Francisco Bay? The bay affects everything in the region, from transportation to commercial ship traffic to the morning fog. But for generations, the bay has also been a playground – for swimming, for racing boats, for fishing, for waterskiing, for showing off. To celebrate the Year of the Bay, we’re opening The San Francisco Chronicle’s photography archives to an innovative crowdsourcing project at http://yearofthebay.org. We are asking our friends out there – you – to help us identify these pictures of life on the bay, some of which date back 70 and more years. Log on and tell us what you know, and contribute your own photographs and memories to the project. Together, we’re writing a new, richer, more diverse history of the San Francisco Bay.

The text above is from writer Carl Nolte’s blog post introducing the San Francisco Chronicle’s crowdsourcing collaboration with Year of the Bay on Historypin. We are excited that they are sharing photos from their archives with us, and we encourage you to explore their Channel and contribute what you know about them. Just click on the “Comments” tab of each photo to leave your thoughts!

The San Francisco Chronicle's Channel on Historypin

The "Comments" tab of a photo pin on Historypin.

To browse their photos on Historypin and to leave your comments on them, continue to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Channel here.

Dan Rademacher of Bay Nature Magazine On Our Year of the Bay Photo Contest

Historypin is teaming up with Bay Nature magazine on a photo contest for our Year of the Bay crowdsourcing project, and here editor Dan Rademacher tells us more about how you can help contribute. —

Fun in San Francisco Bay by Ian Ransley Design + Illustration

Get your images published in Bay Nature magazine, win $50, and help crowdsource the history of San Francisco Bay. All at once!

What’s your favorite place to have fun on San Francisco Bay? Is it Crissy Field? Crown Beach? China Camp? Candlestick Point? Coyote Point?

What’s your favorite way to have fun on San Francisco Bay? By boat, kayak, or kiteboard. On foot or by bike. With binoculars at dawn, or on a picnic blanket on a lazy afternoon.

I’m the editor of Bay Nature magazine and we’ve been telling stories of the San Francisco Bay since 2001. Sometimes, those stories are serious—decades-long wetlands restoration projects, worrisome sea-level rise projections, historic losses of habitat or influxes of Gold Rush sediments.

And sometimes those stories are seriously fun, and that’s what we’re after this time!

So we’ve teamed up with yearofthebay.org on a photo contest, and we want your photos of people having fun on the Bay. We want your recent photos, your old photos, your fine photos, your quirky photos, scans of those old snapshots your oddball uncle left you in his will. We want ‘em all!

Why? Because we ALL make history, and we want to see a whole range of folks having fun out on San Francisco Bay — kayaking, fishing, swimming, sailing, stand-up paddling, playing with their dogs, kite-boarding, wind-surfing, motor boating, and, yes, maybe even sitting on the dock of the Bay, killing time.

These photos will become part of the Year of the Bay’s communally produced Bay history, and they’ll also be a key part of Bay Nature’s July-September 2013 issue, along with a chronicle of the recent history of major Bay wetlands restoration and otherworldly portraits of a few of the millions of tiny creatures that flow under the Golden Gate Bridge every day.

Tiny larval crabs riding the tides, shorebirds nesting in South Bay marshes, families picnicking on the beach—it’s all part of the story of San Francisco Bay, that great wilderness at the heart of our region.

We’ll choose up to eight images to publish in our July-September 2013 issue. Winners get $50 per image, plus of course photo credit and complimentary copies of the magazine.

Only two rules: (1) The photo must be of people in, on, or right next to SF Bay, and (2) they should be having fun!

So help us tell the Bay’s story by submitting your photos at baynature.org/bay-photo-contestSubmissions are due bymidnight on May 12, 2013.

Visit our Year of the Bay page anytime to explore how we are helping to crowdsource the history of San Francisco Bay.

Investing in the Creative Reuse of Cultural Heritage

Historypin is proud to join with 26 other partners from across the European cultural heritage, technology, creative, media, and academic sectors for an exciting 30 month project designed to demonstrate and instigate the creative reuse and remixing of digital cultural heritage. 

eCreative kickoff at the Austrian National Library. (Thx to Max Kaiser for group photo and Erwin Verbruggen for the mashup!)

The online portal Europeana provides access to more than 25 million digitized objects of cultural heritage from European libraries, archives and museums. The Europeana Creative project will actively encourage and promote the creative reuse of digital cultural heritage and associated metadata made available through Europeana. As part of the project, a number of test applications will be developed as proof of concepts and which are being designed together with a number of events to spur innovation and further development by entrepreneurs from the creative industries.

The project was officially launched in February at the Austrian National Library in Vienna meeting where representatives of all of the partner organizations were assembled. There were presentations on the various work packages and workshops were used for the further development of the specific plans and tasks.

GOAL

The Europeana Creative project will demonstrate that Europeana can facilitate the creative re-use of cultural heritage metadata and content. The project will establish an Open Laboratory Network, create a legal and business framework for content re-use and implement all needed technical infrastructure.

WHY NOW?

In the last few years we’ve seen a growing global convergence of communities working toward usability and discovery of openly licensed cultural heritage assets and data. Increasingly, the cherished institutions that have for so long provided stewardship of these materials and their accompanying data are embracing and investing in new ways of providing access to this information, opening a new world of possibilities for how we celebrate our shared global history. We’ve seen this trend illustrated across Europe.

The reuse of open data is an important part of the Digital Agenda for Europe.  There’s been several major activities recently throughout Europe to celebrate and stimulate the reuse of cultural heritage, such as the Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki last fall, and GLAM-WIKI 2013 held in London earlier this month to name a few.  Last year, the Hack4Europe! competition was organized to develop applications to demonstrate the social and economic value of open cultural data.

In September 2012, Europeana encouraged the development of innovative applications by publishing the metadata for 25 million cultural heritage objects under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 0 (CC0) license, and have also provided free and open access to the metadata through Application Programming Interfaces and Linked Open Data. Europeana Creative will not only use this metadata, but also many of the digital objects themselves, which are available for re-use together with the necessary licenses.

5 TEST APPLICATIONS

The project will create five pilot applications in the thematic areas of History Education, Natural History Education, Tourism, Social Networks, and Design, then conduct open innovation challenges to identify, incubate and spin-off viable projects into the commercial sector.

Pilot → Challenge → Spin-off: the workflow for pilot development. This is further illustrated in the Work Package 4 presentation on Slideshare.

The project will also undertake an extensive stakeholder engagement campaign promoting the benefits of cultural heritage content re-use to creative industries and to memory institutions.

HISTORYPIN’S ROLE

Historypin will be focusing on increased data integration with Europeana as well as creative reuse of geolocated sound archives as part of the Social Networks pilot.  We’re excited to feature a number of sound recordings and themes on Historypin from Europeana partners, including the British Library Sound Archive, and work package leader Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision. We’ll also be getting  support in this work package from Ontotext AD.

PROJECT PARTNERS

The project brings together 26 partners from 14 different countries and is a strong alliance between:

  • the Europeana Foundation, with access to 2,200 + cultural institutions
  • Creative hubs and organizations that have access to the creative industries and professionals in the tourism and educational sectors in Europe
  • Living Labs in four countries (Spain, France, Finland and Belgium)
  • Technical and multimedia experts
  • Business planning experts
  • Partners who provide material from their cultural heritage institution or museum.

The full list of participants and more information about the project can be found on the Europeana Creative website.  Many thanks to Lizzy Komen for her original post which I borrowed heavily from!

Europeana Creative is a project co-funded by the European Commission under the CIP program 2007-2013.

Neighborhood Stories: Get your community involved

Want to get your organisation or community involved with Neighborhood Stories, but not sure where to start? Here are some ideas and tips to get you started:

1. Running Community Events: Examples and ideas

2. A Guide to Using Historypin

3. Getting started with Historypin for Libraries, Archives and Museums

If you’re interested in running an event with your local community we want to hear about it! Get in touch with Natalie Milbrodt (Director Queens Memory Project, Queens Library) at Natalie.Milbrodt@queenslibrary.org who will be able to support with the planning, running and publicity of your event.

All new Historypin!

We are proud to launch a brand new Historypin!

After months of researching, planning, designing, testing and building we are ready to share with you all a major new redesign which, we hope, shows off all your content in the best possible light and gives you lots of new features to enjoy.

The all new homepage now has a Pin of the Day gallery, so the winning images of this prestigious award can be easily seen by all. You can also look back through past winners. Upload your best images to be in for a chance of featuring here.

We also have a brand new totaliser, the arrival of which is well timed as we have just reached 200,000 materials shared on Historypin. Thankyou to every one of you that has contributed to this figure.

You can now see every item added to Historypin in the new Activity Feed, which shows what you are all doing on the site, be it adding photos, videos and audio clips, favoriting other people’s contributions, adding comments, creating Tours and Collections or adding items to Projects.

Projects are also a new feature. They bring together content around certain themes. We now have several projects including Year of the bayRemember how we used to… and My Grandparents are better than yours for you to explore, add to and comment on.

Loads of work has gone into tidying things up, beautifying and simplifying the user experience and interface, plus there has been lots of techy work finding solutions to difficult problems behind the scenes. A massive thankyou and congratulations is due to the creative and digital teams - check out their faces here.

Life Story Challenge Launches!

Life Story Challenge HistorypinWho do you know who is amazing? Someone interesting, kind, worthwhile, brave, crazy, amazing, selfless, or generous and who is continuing living life to the full – an “Active Ager”?

The Life Story Challenge is now open for entries from anyone in Europe!

Simply create a Life Story about someone you know using photos and stories you’ve collected and tell the story of their life and what they are doing now.

The best story will win a cash prize and a trip to Brussels. But get in quick if you want a chance to win - the closing date is 16th September 2012.

The Life Story Challenge has been created by Historypin and the European Year for Active Ageing to celebrate the Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity.

Find our more and get started creating your Life Story here.