BoiseSpeaks Inspired by StoryCorps Brought to you by the Public Library

I saw this advertised on the public library’s facebook page for anyone who is interested in participating.

Here is the description and link:

The Library! at Collister invites you to bring a friend or family member to interview you, or be interviewed by a library staff member about a story from your life. Interviews are recorded on the Storycorps app and may be shared on the website. All published stories are archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. A staff member will sit in to make sure the recording runs smoothly. Enjoy this opportunity to document your experiences for future generations! What is your story?


Reading Recommendations

Here is one of my favorite blogs: It is edited by two fairly young histories, has numerous contributors, and focuses on American Religious history. It’s quite good at interpreting the religious meanings and significance of current events. One of my favorite threads is called “know your archives” and it provides great information for younger scholars making their first archive visit:

Reading Recommendations

I am not quite sure if we are supposed to post links regarding public history, historic preservation, or history in general, so here is an odd selection of history-related links that I have found interesting lately (or for a while):

1) Preservation Nation’s Places That Matter

–> This is not really a reading, but the National Trust for Historic Preservation website has a map where you can plug in your location and find local preservation projects that are ongoing or in need of being started. A drawback is that even though you may plug in a specific zip code, the lists seem to be clustered around more general geographic areas, so you have to really search to find city-specific projects. (Here is one I found for Boise:

2) “A Summary View”: Blog of the Jefferson Library

–> I will admit that I am a bit obsessed with Thomas Jefferson (I may or may not have an historical crush on him…) so I find this blog administered by Monticello’s Jefferson Library interesting. The contributors do things such as comment on current Jefferson-related topics of interest and debunk the rampantly circulating myths about our third president ( Monticello of course has vast resources to be able to support all types of projects, but I think that a blog is a great idea that other historical associations could adopt to add to their current projects and increase their publicity.

3) “Times to Remember, Places to Forget” by Daniel Gilbert of the NewYork Times

–> Finally, here is a short article that I love which reminds me why I care about remembering history and preserving places. It laments the rise of the shopping mall and simultaneous demise of unique localities in classic “grumpy-old-woman” fashion, of which I find myself increasingly supportive.

More inspiration

Image by Mike Licht, and used under a Creative Commons license

I’ve stumbled across some more potential sources of inspiration for your public history projects, papers, and careers.  Here are my latest finds:

Civil War Memory is sort of meta, in that its author (Kevin Levin, a Civil War historian and high school history teacher) comments frequently on the public engagement with Civil War history. In that sense it’s just as much about public history as it is creating it. Anyway, lots of interesting stuff there, especially since the Civil War sesquicentennial celebrations are kicking off this year. I like this bit Levin penned for a blog post at the NY Times site:

The ease with which we can access and contribute to the Web makes it possible for everyone to be his or her own historian, which is both a blessing and a curse. The Internet is both a goldmine of information as well as a minefield of misinformation and distortion.

An interview with Jane McGonigal, game designer, at the NY Times. I love how McGonigal thinks about the utility of games, particularly real-world scenario games like World Without Oil. Here’s McGonigal’s recent appearance on The Colbert Report, in which she argues that playing video games may be, as far as the future of humanity is concerned, the best use of our time:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jane McGonigal
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Seb Chan reports that China Heart, a new web site and free iPhone app, recently launched. Here’s the description from the iTunes store:

China Heart is an interactive love story and mystery that uses GPS technology, art installation and performance to explore Sydney’s Chinatown. During Chinese New Year 2011, participants unravel a mystery, solving video and real life clues while following a walking tour guided by the app’s GPS technology. Starting at the Powerhouse Museum and culminating at the Chinese Garden of Friendship, they will visit significant locations in Sydney’s Chinatown and learn about history of Chinese Australians from the 19th century to now along the way.

You might find this book useful–and you can read it for free online: Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training.

Participants in The 1861 Project are writing original songs that imagine the human (versus the mythic and epic) experience of the Civil War. Eventually the project will provide space for people to discuss their own connections with the Civil War.

Here’s a post about 5 apps that encourage kids to become citizen scientists. Can you imagine an app that encourages kids (and others!) to become citizen historians? What might that look like?

Some inspiration

My mind, like many of yours, is dizzy with the possibilities engendered by the intersection of local history, public history practice, and digital tools like the iPod Touch.  I wanted to share a few potential sources of inspiration that I’ve found in my sojourns around the web.

I’m not much of a gamer, but I do enjoy a good narrative game.  I’ve been playing Echo Bazaar for at least a year now, and I recommend you check it out.  You’ll need a Facebook or Twitter account to play.  It’s set in a fictional world, but the in-game world of “Fallen London” has a rich history and cast of characters.  I don’t by any means expect you all to build anything as near elaborate as this lovely game, but it is an interesting model for those of you interested in storytelling, especially of the Choose Your Own Adventure variety.

There’s an entire wiki dedicated to the use of mobile devices in museums.

There’s a newish site called Digital Humanities Questions & Answers, and it may prove exceptionally useful to you as you formulate your project plan and implement it.  The people who participate in that forum are very generous with their time and expertise, so don’t be shy about asking questions.

Tours of London, led by the city’s homeless: an interesting approach to introducing people to the city.

What Was There is similar to HistoryPin, and it’s desperately in need of some Boise content.  Ditto Sepiatown.  And LookBackMaps.

Someone has provided a round-up of various projects that document Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.  Maybe you’ll find some inspiration for your own project?  (It’s flashier than anything we might build in a semester, but I’m especially fond of Curating the City.)

SCVNGR lets you build mobile scavenger hunts.

Hypercities is doing some cool stuff, especially around the recent Egyptian protests.  Its developers describe Hypercities thus:

Built on the idea that every past is a place, HyperCities is a digital research and educational platform for exploring, learning about, and interacting with the layered histories of city and global spaces.  Developed though collaboration between UCLA and USC, the fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories.  Using Google Maps and Google Earth, HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.

Cliocaching looks to be fun.

Definitely check out the Flickr pool Looking into the Past.  (No one has yet contributed any Boise images.)

What have you found this week?