Wednesday, 28 March 2012

More Essay Ideas

Good grief, was on a bit of a downer last week! :0) Having just re-read the last post I'm going to start on a more positive note with a couple of new ideas.  The first one was more of an idea for presenting information for small museums or other history related institutions (Public History?) where space is a problem. All it would be is a projector with either a motion sensor or touch screen which would act as a large display screen and (something like the virtual museum idea from before) displaying information for multiple items. This could have virtually anything from static pictures and text to 3D images or video/audio. I wouldn't see this as replacing traditional displays as enhancing them, displaying further information or objects that didn't quite make it into the main exhibition. It is kind of a logical progression from a television showing a static video. I think children (and probably adults!) would love the interactivity of it with the possible expansion into advanced motion sensor technology (from something like a X-Box Kenect movement sensor) could add even more opportunity for interaction. Going back to my doom laden prediction from last week that digitisation could see the closure of archives etc, I don't see it happening any time soon as the space to store it just doesn't exist, let alone the man hours or money to do it! Plus, if you show a little bit of what you have online it could actually encourage people to come and see the larger collection. 

Another idea that has cropped up and is probably the one I may go with is a database website, perhaps something like Wikipedia but on a more specific or local format. For example, you maybe interested in Chartism but how would you link information from a website, court proceedings, newspapers, a book or video? The site could have a national general database (perhaps not always necessary?), but then go down to a local level with county's or cities and individuals with their information on that subject. Links to the relevant content to back up any information could then be provided. The website would give you a form to fill in for each page/item so that all the lovely XML is consistently set up (so a search for say "fire" doesn't have to include fire/fires/fireplace/etc) and to a small extent monitored. By limiting the description of items to be added to the database via drop-down menu lists and adding something called error checking (it makes sure a text or numerical value is entered) it could be quite a powerful way to use crowd sourcing. There would probably still be cases of independent text boxes, however it would be down to whoever sets up the database (and form) to decide how much or little freedom and latitude is given. I would also envisage a facility to request other classifications for the form, and probably some sort of history and/or discussion pages. I don't know if this has been done before? History Pin is possibly the closest but I don't think anyone has done a specific site for databases that potentially anyone could set up related directly to a history topic. There are lots of database hosting sites but these are for commercial activities and charge a fee. It is still a work in progress so I'm open to any comments (as always!).    

Also, please have a look at my map at the bottom of this page from BatchGeo regarding Swing attacks in Norfolk - I think it looks alright however I'm not sure about how accurate it is(in numbers/specific location versus parish). Good luck to all working on essays/dissertations! ;0)     

1 comment:

  1. Like the idea of an interactive museum activity on screeen which both adults and children would take part in-ideal for teachers and small groups of children; to learn about a specific topic.
    The local database would be excellent as it could focus on a current topic while relating to previous history/archives.
    Working on essay ideas too and trying to catch up with the blogs and Twitter; exam revision -too much to do!!