Center for History and New Media

Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media

Screenshot from the Collecting + Exhibiting Page. CHNM has developed remarkable tools for data curation & beautifully archived exhibits

Just spent 3 hours discussing web tools for digital archives & libraries in school today – #ohyeah. Especially mindblowing are projects at the CHNM, which you can access here. The page on Collecting + Exhibiting and Research + Tools are worth the time (especially Omeka). Other super resources that were shared include:

  • Tagasauris – uses software to determine which meaning a user intended for sites with crowd-sourced tagging (i.e. user tags ‘chicken’: do they mean chicken noodle soup, farm chickens, the chicken dance, or chicken-crossing-the-road jokes).
  • Hiroshima Archive Project – self-described as “a pluralistic digital archive that tells the reality of Hiroshima atomic bomb.”
  • Zotero – a personal research assistant – helps you collect, organize, cite, and share research sources.
  • VoiceThread – multimedia slide show experience with new ways for leaving comments and collaborating among peers.
  • Etherpad –  Collaborative online document writing – Google used the source code to build Google Documents.



ART.SY is an emerging website that aims to establish and continue working on what they call the Art Genome Project. They’ve indexed art from major museums in over 150 categories that allow for personal collectors and avid art enthusiasts to curate their account to follow specific movements, collections, and artists.

They just released a beta version of their collection to be reviewed and tested by a very small group of people, and my proposal was just accepted today! (best day ever!) I’m unbelievably excited about this, and have been since I first read about the concept a little over a year ago. It would be so cool to work for From a usability and web design perspective, and from an art criticism and appreciation perspective, this just has so much potential. The fine arts market prides itself on exclusivity and often abhors the mass market, but in the digital age it’s nearly impossible to ignore the possibilities offered by net searching and social networking within niche communities. It will be ineresting to see what unfolds with – it could change not only the representation of art, but movements, mediums, and art theories themselves! With global entreprenurial giants like Pandora’s CEO Joe Kennedy, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, and Larry Gagosian backing the project, it will definitely make a big impact.

I’ve searched for at least 20 of my favorite artists so far that aren’t yet included on the site, but there is so much there! For Nan Goldin & Gerhard Richter I got special search retrieval message that said ‘they’re not here yet, but here are some similar works.’ “yet” – that means they’re work on it!!

Now would probably be a good time for either Sotheby’s or Christie’s to partner with them, because they’d absolutely take over the international art auction market. Just sayin’.



Quick, all you LAMs folk get your tooshies over to ViewShare! It’s a new, freshly launched (this week!) LC web platform that’s completely free to download. It was designed (by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program – NDIIPP) for cultural heritage institutions to generate, curate, and customize their digital web content in new ways! This means that they can more easily design their content to fit different audiences and communities, and allow users to interact with digital data in more insightful and meaningful ways!

I’m so excited about this!

This semester I’ve been doing a number of projects with clients in the Southeast Michigan area. For one client in particular, the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society (GWBHS), two other graduate students and myself have been assessing the preservation needs of the society. We handed them one deliverable in the form of a Preservation Needs Assessment Survey (looks something like this), which broke down the strengths and weaknesses of their information storage and exhibition environments, general housekeeping, artifact crowding, off-site exhibitions, long-term sustainability, digital preservation planning, cataloging and data management, and more. We looked at their budget, culture, and audiences and gave them a list of suggestions on how to improve their environment so as to extend the life-span of their collections. It was a super tedious process, but a great learning experience. I found that I really like helping non-profit, underfunded, and volunteer-based organizations, because their existence is based completely on the passions of a few people who love it enough to devote all of their extra energy to seeing historical documents and artifacts thrive :)

Anyways, to get to the point: now that we’ve given them a list of recommendations, we’re focusing on one aspect of that assessment survey and breaking it out into a fully-fledged procedural plan that will allow the institution to really get something started. For GWBHS we’re working on developing a procedure for Digital Preservation. So, I’m especially excited about ViewShare because it directly applies to an institution that I’ve been working closely with for a few months, and I can’t wait to tell them about it!

Sometimes new technologies can be intimidating and scary to non-profit, underfunded institutions, because they don’t have the time, expertise, or manpower to implement it. This is certainly true for GWBHS, but we’re hoping to get them some graduate student preservation interns to get the process going. Also ViewShare was designed for these types of institutions, so my hope is that the usability of it will be more intuitive to average users. I’m checking it out right now/drafting an email to GWBHS, so I’ll watch and report back with any major failures/breakthroughs I happen to stumble upon! :)