Full Steam Ahead: Historic Images, New Technologies

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Full Steam Ahead: Historic Images, New Technologies

2014-06-13 15:11

Although you wouldn't know from our presence on "Fondly, Pennsylvania," the team of HSP staffers working on the "Historic Images, New Technologies" (HINT) project has been diligently making progress since our last update in December.  You may recall from that introductory blog post, we are working to enhance our current image viewer as it appears on our Digital Library and functions in our Digital History Projects.

During the intervening months, a previous project associate, Sarah Newhouse, departed HSP.  We were sad to see her go, but we are excited to welcome Dana Dorman to the team.  Dana has worked on several of HSP's Digital History Projects and joins Rachel Moloshok to complete our dynamic duo of project associates.

An Unpleasant Ride through the Presidential "Haunted Forest, 1884 (HSP Cartoons and Caricatures collection, #3133)

Dana and Rachel have been undertaking the task of whittling down the list of more than 2,000 possible cartoons into a selection of approximately 500 that will be researched and receive the annotations that will form the core of the digital exhibit. Additionally, they have been updating the in-house TEI guidelines and procedures that will be used to display image annotations and enhance graphics discoverability.  We'll be using TEI, or Text Encoding Initiative, a form of XML, to encode and describe the political cartoon images as well as relate them to people, events, and places.

A Beautiful Fairy Tale, 1908

We are very excited about the possibilities and enhanced functionality of our new image viewer.  The viewer will allow for greater image manipulation, including image rotation as well as smoother zooming and panning.  These features will be in addition to the presence of clickable zones.  These zones will feature our pop-up annotations which will describe the topic, characters, and places depicted in a given cartoon.  The viewer will allow for these annotations to be turned on and off as the user chooses.

As the project progresses, we will be sharing much of the data that results from our encoding, as well as coding for the changes to the image viewer and Drupal, our digital history website platform.  We hope that a wide array of users will find this coding useful.  We also hope that archives and other repositories will utilize the improved image viewer in digital history projects of their own.

The Deadly Upas Tree of Wall Street, 1882

Additionally, the digital exhibit will feature several educational components.  We will create unit and lesson plans for elementary, middle, and high school students.  These plans will have the annotated cartoons at their center.  Some plans have already been created and can be browsed by clicking here (lesson plan for elementary students), here (unit plan for elementary students), here (unit plan for middle school students), and here (lesson plan for middle school students).  We plan to create several more lesson and unit plans, so keep watching for those.

Inauguration Day Outlook - Prospects of a Cleaning Up, circa 1903 (Hampton L. Carson Papers, #0117)

We have plenty more work ahead of us as the project develops over the next year before coming to an end in August of 2015.  As we continue our efforts, we intend to write several more blog posts on HINT.  You can follow our progress here on "Fondly, Pennsylvania" and on our project page, accessible by clicking here.  Please check back often!

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