Posts Tagged ‘digital collections’

Archiving Social Media Conversations of Significant Events

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I’ve already proposed one session, but recent events in Iran and the various discussions of the role of social media tools in those events prompted this post.

I propose that we have a session where THATCampers discuss the issues related to preserving (and/or analyzing) the blogs, tweets, images, Facebook postings, SMS(?) of the events in Iran with an eye toward a process for how future such events might be archived and analyzed as well.  How will future historians/political scientists/geographers/humanists write the history of these events without some kind of system of preservation of these digital materials?  What should be kept?  How realistic is it to collect and preserve such items from so many different sources? Who should preserve these digital artifacts (Twitter/Google/Flickr/Facebook; LOC; Internet Archive; professional disciplinary organizations like the AHA)?

On the analysis side, how might we depict the events (or at least the social media response to them) through a variety of timelines/charts/graphs/word-clouds/maps?  What value might we get from following/charting the spread of particular pieces of information? Of false information?  How might we determine reliable/unreliable sources in the massive scope of contributions?

[I know there are many potential issues here, including language differences, privacy of individual communications, protection of individual identities, various technical limitations, and many others.]

Maybe I’m overestimating (or underthinking) here, but I’d hope that a particularly productive session might even come up with the foundations of: a plan, a grant proposal, a set of archival standards, a wish-list of tools, even an appeal to larger companies/organizations/governmental bodies to preserve the materials for this particular set of events and a process for archiving future ones.

What do people think?  Is this idea worth a session this weekend?

UPDATE:   Ok, if I’d read the most recent THATCamp proposals, I’d have seen that Nicholas already proposed a similar session and I could have just added my comment to his…..  So, we have two people interested in the topic.  Who else?

Mobile digital collections

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I’d like to share some work we have done at NC State to bring digital collections to the mobile environment. Now that libraries have made large parts of their photograph and image collections available in digital form on the desktop, the next step is to deliver them via mobile devices that, through the integration of (relatively) large touch screen, faster processors, high-speed connectivity and location-awareness, are becoming an increasingly attractive platform.

“WolfWalk,” a prototype application for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, is our attempt to leverage these technologies to provide access to a small subset of our library’s digital collections, in this case historic images of buildings on the NC State campus. Users can access these images, together with short descriptions of the buildings, through an alphabetical list or a map interface. Instead of having to access print photographs in a controlled library environment or viewing digital surrogates on the desktop, “WolfWalk” allows users to view these images “in the wild,” i.e., they can view them while at the same time experiencing the real object. Also, by (eventually) making use of the device’s location awareness, we can add a serendipitous aspect to the process of discovering images. Instead of having to browse through a search interface or a virtual representation of our campus, the campus becomes the interface when the application shows users buildings, related images and descriptions in their vicinity.

I’d be interested in hearing what others think about the impact of the mobile medium not only on digital collections, but also how these new technologies and practices could be leveraged in other contexts related to work in the digital humanities.

Here's what others are saying about THATCamp on Twitter