For my digital project, I worked with the Silver Spring Historical Society to upload content to the website Historypin. The SSHS is dedicated to preserving the history of Silver Spring, Maryland. I was excited for the opportunity to increase its presence on the web. As I found out, Historypin offers innovative ways for the public to engage with history in a digital format. Here is the link and a screen shot of the channel I created:
What I like about Historypin is the level of interactivity and engagement the site offers. The way it works, users can “pin” content to a Google map, mostly photos, but also audio and video clips. Museums, Archives, and historical societies create channels where visitors can view all the content pinned by the organization. Each channel can create collections of their pins and walking tours for the public to use. Any person can take repeat photographs to replicate the pinned historical pictures. I experimented with all of these features in the SSHS channel. Historypin also has a mobile application that allows you to see what is pinned wherever you are in the world. The developers of Historypin are actively promoting the site and continuing its development.
I enjoyed working with a local historical society for this project. The Silver Spring Historical Society was very receptive to my project, and scanned the images that I pinned. The SSHS was excited for the opportunity to provide more of its content online to engage the public. In creating the channel, I had contact with the administrators of Historypin who were very helpful in resolving technical difficulties I encountered. Overall I enjoyed the experience of completing the digital project.
The difficulties I encountered mainly involved the site. Historypin works in conjunction with your Gmail account, so I had to create a separate account for the SSHS (which I discovered after I had started the project). Historypin is continuing to improve the features of its site, so aspects I would have liked to have done were not feasible yet, such as having my repeat photographs show up in the streetview.
Still, I think Historypin offers an exciting model for digital history in the future. I believe that the principles of collaboration and public participation that the site encourages will be the future of the digital humanities. And I very much enjoyed digitally documenting the history of the community where I live.
Link to the project: http://www.historypin.com/channels/view/id/10253003/