"Faith in the City: Chicago's Religious Diversity in the Era of the World's Fair" [Note: the exhibit is currently offline while The Newberry re-organizes their digital exhibits.] is a digital humanities project focused on religious movements and figures in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The project, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Newberry Library, displays hundreds of historical points as well as essays from over a dozen prominent scholars related to the theme. The map technology allows visitors to toggle between a custom-generated modern map layer of Chicago and a georeferenced panoramic map from the 1890s, seeing how neighborhoods and the city itself have changed in the past 120 years.
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Historians and genealogists searching for historical records can often be challenged by geographical changes over time. As county and state borders have shifted throughout US history, locating physical records can be tricky. Over ten years ago, The Newberry Library created a digital atlas of every historical county, state, and territorial boundary in US history, dating to the first colonies. The data was served via an Esri ArcGIS viewer application which made it difficult for non-geographers to use effectively and required expensive in-house server resources.
Are you going to build a community digital project, like a new online app or map for your city or region? Make sure to check out the project toolkit from the US Census Bureau's "The Opportunity Project" for some great tips and resources! The toolkit includes helpful explanations of the chief steps of planning, building, and supporting a digital product or service - and since it's provided by the Census Bureau, there are tons of links to data sources from federal, state, and local sources.
A Digital Librarian Learning Cohort is a group of librarians from across the country working on their own individual technology projects while simultaneously attending regularly-scheduled webinars that help build common digital skills. Each week, librarians attend a group webinar to learn basic skills, as well as participate in a private 1-hour technology mentoring session with a developer or designer familiar with their project.
You can create simple online maps using free tools like Google's My Maps, but for serious collections of local landmarks, or historical/cultural resources, you'll need something more powerful, such as the custom platform that we built for Chicago Ancestors. I recently came across the open source platform "Arches," popularized by a digital history project in Los Angeles, that provides powerful geodata management capabilities perfect for digital humanities projects.
As someone who has worked on community technology projects for nearly twenty years, it was always conventional wisdom that we had to reach people offline to bring them online. In other words, we couldn't solely do outreach via the Internet when we were targeting people that were, often by definition, completely offline. As librarians in an increasingly digital world approaching 2020, it can be frustrating to see low uptake of digital services or low participation rates in online programs, like summer reading. When studies show that Americans of all ages and economic groups go online in increasing numbers, why is the online use rate of our digital services not skyrocketing?
As a librarian, you naturally want to ensure that your library is accessible to patrons of all ages and abilities? We build ramps and elevators for people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility assistants to make sure they have access to every resource in our library.
Are you taking the same care to make sure that all of your patrons can access the resources on your website?
BookPoints is a free, open source online application that libraries can use to build custom summer reading websites. The software was originally developed with the California Library Association (CLA) and Library of Virginia with support from IMLS via LSTA grants. As of 2018, The Galecia Group continues to develop the software and provides hosting and support for libraries interested in getting help using the free, open source software.
Ever been to a "hackathon" -- a gathering of technologists committed to working on a short-term project, usually a couple of days? Imagine two dozen programmers, designers, and specialists locked in a room for 2 days with laptops, snacks, and caffeine, all focused on prototyping an innovative app for a good cause. Learning, sharing, and pure geekery ensue!