using common platforms to engage visitors

We are currently testing a few simple platforms in work to determine how we can use digital media to enhance exhibits or to create open access. In galleries we are using QR code to connect visitors to you-tube video or sound files which underscore objects on exhibit. We’ve put up about15 links. The thinking behind this is to use programs that visitors are already using. We think they would be more confident with this. So far there are two drawbacks. 1) You-Tube takes stuff down for copyright reasons. We used a film of Anton Karas playing the third Man theme to help visitors understand a guitar zither.

Apparently that is verboten. 2) The heavy masonry construction of our 1903 old courthouse museum building is hard on signal. Hot spots are hard to predict.

A current idea we have is to create a Facebook page for each exhibit where we want visitors to socially interact on the topic. Two we are looking at is a c1940 office vignette and a set of kitchen exhibits.


Using the Blog

Welcome to participants. For the time being I have this set up for all of you to register. Follow the steps below to get started.

How to register for the blog

  1. To get started please register for the blog.
  2. Once you have registered you will need to fill out your user profile.
  3. Lastly, set up a gravatar so that we can all see a picture of you.

How to sign up to post

  1. Go to this Google doc
  2. Pick at least two weeks that you would like to post to the blog on
  3. Put your name in the corresponding third box for the week you intend to blog for.

How to post to the blog

  1. Log in to your WordPress Administration Panel (Dashboard). You can find ours at
  2. Click the Posts tab.
  3. Click the Add New Sub Tab
  4. Start filling in the blanks. Say pithy and amazing things. Your post needs a title, and post content. Please include links and images as relevant.
  5. As needed, select a category, add tags, and make other selections from the sections below the post.
  6. When you are ready, click Publish.

Watch this screencast to see how this works in action. There is more information in the video.

Post comments here if you have trouble with this, or send emails to trevor dot johnowens at gmail dot com.

Hello world!

Welcome to Visualizing the Past, a blog for the NCPH working group exploring interfaces to cultural history. This blog is the point of contact for members of the working group to share ideas and work in the form of blog posts.

Here is a little background on the call for participants asked for a while back.

Digital cultural heritage collections include temporal, locative, and categorical information which is increasingly being tapped to build dynamic interfaces to these materials. These kinds of dynamic interfaces are increasingly what end users expect of their interactions with online content. There are now several software platforms, including SIMILE’s Exhibit, the Center for History and New Media’s Omeka, OCLC’s Content DM, as well as a range of commercial museum, library, and archive systems.

These kinds of tools are generating an unprecedented opportunity for historians, librarians, archivists, curators and the general public to create interactive and dynamic web experiences with digital cultural heritage collections.

Participants in this working group will discuss current projects in this space and also work to imagine the future of these kinds of interfaces. This will likely include:

  • Discussions of the possibilities of visualization platforms for cultural heritage collections
  • Worked examples of implementations of interfaces to digital cultural heritage collections
  • Proposed models for new interfaces based on work in other fields
  • Reports on software currently being developed to meet these needs
  • Critical analysis of specific implementations of online interfaces to digital collections
  • Ruminations on how these kinds of interfaces change and alter the process of historical storytelling
  • Analyses by users of cultural heritage data of their interactions with existing interfaces