The “AHA Today” blog post today might be of interest to my colleagues here. It highlights the relevance and importance of historical thinking in regard to the rise of digital means of handling and visualizing historical data and information (including through timelines — echoing some of Steve’s points). It also links to what sounds like an interesting presentation at the recent SXSW conference on “Maps of Time: Data as Narrative” (which opens by asking “What’s the relationship between visualized data and the story we want to tell?”) and to a fascinating looking visualization tool called ChronoZoom — both of which I am eager to explore a bit.
Creating and manipulating an interface to a digital collection is fundamentally an interpretive act. With Viewshare, a project I work on in my day job, the idea is that anyone who can create a spreadsheet also can create and share a dynamic online presentation of maps, timelines, charts and tag clouds that allows viewers to easily explore the rich information embedded in a collection. I thought I would use my first post as an opportunity to introduce everyone to this project. It is what I spend my days working on and it is my hope that participating in this group can help me further refine my thinking about what kinds of other features and refinements we should be thinking about bringing into the software.
If you want to try out the software you can visit the request an account page and the accounts folks will get you set up in short order.
I have included a set of slides I used to introduce the software to folks at the recent CurateGear conference. I have also included an embedded video of a recent workshop I ran on the software. I figured I would also include a set of background links on the project with some more targeted information.
Some Brief Background Reading on Viewshare
- Exploring and Sharing Community History Through Interface Design : A breif post walking through how a summer fellow was able to use Viewshare to create an interface to a collection of digitized photographs from Mississippi.
- ViewShare.org: Create and Share Interfaces to Our Digital Cultural Heritage: A post announcing the viewshare launch that also gives a nice walkthrough of what the software can do.
- Learning About Your Collections With Viewshare : A post in which I suggest the ways that one of the most potent values from the tool is actually the way it helps a curator, archivist, librarian or historian develop their own deeper understanding of their collection.
Viewshare Workshop Video
This video is of the Viewshare workshop from January 2012. The first ten minutes are an overview of some examples. The next twenty minutes is a start to finish walkthrough of using the software the remainder is Q & A. I don’t imagine that most of you will want to watch the whole thing, but if your even vaguely interested you can skip around in there a little and get a good handle of exactly what the tool can do.