The Use of Historypin

The software I used is historypin, a crowdsourcing archive website where a user can pin a place on google map and upload pictures, videos and texts related to the place. The users can overlay the historical pictures on google street views where the users can see what the place looked like before and now. The place I go to is South Illinois Avenue, Carbondale, Illinois.

The techniques they use are mainly location and preference based. It uses google map to provide the geo-location and a user who is interested in the place and want to share any historical thing about the place uploads it based on the location he’s interested in and pins. Besides pin a place, the user can also “crowdsource” the place by creating a collection so that both the user and other people who might be interested can contribute. The user can also search the place in the website and see what pinned places near him. Even if he does not pin the place or upload things, he can enjoy what other people uploaded about the place such as photos. On google street view, if you click the pinned place, you can see what the place looked like before and the picture overplayed upon the map. For example, by clicking the numbers on the street pinned by other people, I can see the pictures of the past about the place. The location of a student dorm building now ¬†was a sports shop and a book store in 1970. By being present in the location, a user has a better historical experience by looking at the current place while contrasting it to the image on the phone. By such interactive features, the website can attract both users and contributors.

The theory it puts forward is the public history from a bottom-up approach. Serving as a crowdsourcing website, historypin actively integrates the public into the historical exhibits, sources collection and the creation of historical projects. The public must be more interested in pubic history making by the in-person participation. It makes history relevant and lively to the public life, playing an educational as well as fun-making role for the public. This engagement of users also makes curators’ work much easier by contributing archives and categorizing the material in collections.

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