Thursday, April 30, 2009

Almost-Live Blogging: Places and Stories

You've probably heard a lot about community engagement through the Internet. I know I myself talk about it all. the. time. But I saw a fantastic example of exactly that today at the Places and Stories session here at AAM.

PhilaPlace is a new initiative by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania that is being designed by Night Kitchen. Although PhilaPlace is not yet up and running, HSP has already begun working with the community prior to launch. PhilaPlace involves "co-constructed narratives" and "connecting stories to places across time." The website will include:
-- Interpretive information
-- MP3 player tours
-- Primary source documents
-- Audio and video clips
-- Photos
-- Layered maps (using Google maps as the base but then adding layers to see neighborhoods back in time)
-- Digital models (to show change over time consisting of static maps based on census information)
-- K-12 lessons
-- Visitor contributed stories

Corresponding collaborative programming will include:
-- Public events (history fairs)
-- Workshops
-- Trolley tours (the whole program actually began this way)
-- Exhibits

The goal of PhilaPlace is to use "reciprocal technology" and participatory technology to bring grassroots involvement to the digital realm. To this end, there will be a MyPhila--users will be able to save their favorite stories, create stories, make their own tours and upload those tours to Google maps. Filters can also be used to view the places. You can filter according to neighborhood, tour, or topic. It is also the hope that the map layers will become populated by visitor interaction.

Challenges faced by PhilaPlace:
-- How to integrate multiple stories for the same place?

Technologies to be used:
-- CollectiveAccess
-- Google Maps
-- Google API

-- Pew Center for Arts and Heritage
-- Connelly Foundation
-- (many more)

For more on this session, please see my post here.

Places and Stories That Matter: Digital Experiments and Community Involvement
Minda Borun, Director of Research and Evaluation, Franklin Institute
Joan Saverino, Assistant Director for Education, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Matthew Fisher, President, Night Kitchen
Marci Reaven, Managing Director, City Lore

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