Graphs, Maps, and Trees:  Imagining the Future of Public Interfaces to Cultural Heritage Collections

A National Council on Public History Working Group


  • Trevor Owens, Library of Congress, trevor(dot)johnowens(at)gmail(dot)com
  • Steve Lubar , John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, luba(at)brown(dot)edu
  • Sharon Leon, Center for History and New Media, sleon(at)gmu(dot)edu

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.

The call for participation should be broadly interpreted but the following kinds of proposals are specifically encouraged,

  • 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

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