Friday, November 30, 2012

More from MARAC - from a digital perspective.

I also attended the MARAC (Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference) conference in Richmond, but did not attend any of the sessions that Elizabeth Howe reported on.

Highlights for me -

The presentation by Edward Ayers, President of the University of Richmond.  Ayers has taken vast quantities of historical data and made it accessible and understandable by mapping it.  So for example on the Digital Scholarship Lab is Presidential Voting, which graphically shows how the country changed its allegiances over the years.  Another map that I found impressive was one mapping slavery’s end during the American Civil War -  Visualizing Emancipation. I can dream of making the information on Whilbr more visually attractive and meaningful.

The session on social media in archives/ history collections provided some new insights. Several of the presenters talked about History Pin, which has come a long way since I looked at it a couple of years ago -  History Pin It still has inaccuracies in my opinion (bridges on the Antietam Creek incorrectly identified etc. ) but is another way of presenting data graphically. Another presenter thought that Flickr was a useful way to present data in sequence.

A piece of software that I need to check out is Tesseract - a free OCR package.  Since I have a purchased program I have not had the need to look at it, but it might be useful for those who don't want to retype something that already exists in some other digital form.

For those who are bored with Powerpoint - check out Prezi

And the reminder that crowd sourcing is a possibility for transcriptions - see Australia National Library - Trove for example. We would appreciate getting help to transcribe documents writing in 19th century script to add to Whilbr. Any one want to help?

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