Mark Tebeau, Ph.D.Department of HistoryCenter for Public History + DigitalHumanitiesCleveland State Universitymtebeau@gmail.com@urbanhumanistThe Challenges of Curation inthe Digital & Mobile AgePlenarySpark Fest The Twin Cities DigitalHumanitiesMay 15, 2013
The Tipping Point is Houston’s first and only sneaker lifestylestore located in Downtown on the ground floor of the HistoricHumble Building. We curate an eclectic collection ofsneakers, books, art, apparel, music, and accessories thatare a reflection of the Tipping Point lifestyle.
• Musicians• Gallery owners• Shop owners• Cultural commenters• Artists• Museum professionals• Scholars• Librarians• Social Media being built onthe conceptEveryone now a Curator
A brief history of “Curation”• The 15th century: curates cared forsouls and foundling minors• The 19th century: scholars and curatorsengaged public sphere through books,museums, streets, & civic language• The 20th century: social historianexpands publics and purview ofmuseums expanded and broadened asdid curatorial purview• The 21st century: digital age re-imagingpublic discourse4
Curation in the Digital Age• Curation means *all* of the following activities–Collecting–Preserving (technically & physically)–Archiving–Exhibiting–Contextualizing–Interpreting• Curation not discreet• Curation interactive• Curation collaborative
• Lens through which to explore howAmericans shaped memory landscapes• Reveals ways immigrants and theirchildren negotiate shifting terms ofAmerican identity• Digital Public History opened theGardens– Engaged silences & controversy– Helped spur new growth– Presented new research possibilities– Contributed to emergence of theCenter for Public History + DigitalHumanitiesCase Study:The Cleveland Cultural Gardens:http://www.culturalgardens.org/
Gardens, Monuments, & Memory• Gardens are more complicated than the―invented tradition‖ of the ―democratic‖American public park• Urban context—landmarks, vernacularlandscape, and physical infrastructure• International context matters• Monumental biographies
• Building an archive• Physical public art objects• Collecting oral history• Telling stories• Interpreting landscape• Contextualized history• (www.sculptingplace.com)What, how, & where …… were we Curating?
Case Study: Curating a Street• How do we interpret history on the street?• Best practices in digital oral history?• Resolving the challenge of contentmanagement?• Creating a research community– Connecting undergrads to projects– Integrating K-12 teaching communities– Teaching & Learning Cleveland• Funding• Building Digital Public History laboratory.
Questions of Digital Curation• Archivists & scholars curate, but differently• Is aggregation curation?• Can curation be social and crowdsourced?• Collaborative• Content Management• Metadata• Open data• Performance• Dynamic• Interpretive
• Neilson reports that more than half, 55%, ofmobile owners have a smartphone• Pew‘s February 2012 study found 46% of USadults owned a smartphone• comScore estimate that smartphone ownership inthe US reached 110 million users by May 2012• Pew Internet & American Life suggest the mobilerevolution has been a paradigmatic shift– Youth adopting most rapidly– >71% among 25-34 year-olds owned smartphones.– Rise of ―apps culture‖– Crosses racial & ethnic divide– Different usage patterns by SESWho uses Mobile?
Mobile in Public Humanities• Mobile is now according to Horizon Report• 80% of people accessing internet worldwide … will do so from mobiledevice• Cultural Organizations– 30% of history museums, >50% of art museums– > 50% Museums with 50k – 250k visitors• Education– Non-existent in K-12, except via ―labs‖– ―BYOD‖ gaining popularity (also ―BYOT‖– Universities produce in context of courses, but appears to beused rarely in learning context; not as imaginative as you mightthink…• Community History– Based on cultural organization, unlikely• Place-Based Economic Development– Increasingly common for Heritage Tourism
Mobile represents significant change• Coupled with Open Data, Big Data & Cloud Computing …… mobile has create ubiquitous digital environments• Immediacy• Individualized• Information availability• Information formatting• Connectedness: geographic, friend, family• Blurs boundaries between formal/informal• Full sensing devices• The emerging Internet of Things, which is simply ―network-aware smart objects that connect the physical world with theworld of digital information and communication.‖
Case Study: Curating the City?• Why curate a garden or a street, when you can curate acity?• What were key curatorial lessons from the Gardens &Kiosk projects?• What were the key technological trends?• Finally, can we make our project extensible to otherplaces?
Remaking Place?• Place as metaphor– Musil: "Nothing as Invisible as a Statue"– Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities• What is place?– Landscape & Human Stories– Lived by People– Layers of data, stories, meaning• How is it made?– Landscape, narrative, experience– History: social, cultural, politics & economy– By collaborative conversation—process• Discovered, personal, and collective• Contexts: local, regional, national, international• Engages civic consciousness, builds community• Remakes civic sensibility & sense of place
Design & Tools for Storytelling• City as Layers• Layers of contextual & interpretive meaning– artifacts: text, image, sound, movie, etc– geo-located interpretive stories– social media– Links– Organized into stories– Tours for meta-framing– thematic, temporal, geographic• connected to physical world• builds contexts for making meaning• open-source content management (Omeka)• embedded in public history/teacher training• made in conjunction with the community
Curatorial Practice•Dynamic storytelling is essential–Moses Cleveland & Dike 14•Build cultural context–Shaker Freeway Fight & Black Hawk Legend•Layered multimedia story elements–Cuyahoga River Fire•Geo-Location & the urban physical context•Discovery thru meta-interpretive frames (i.e. tours & search)–Cleveland Food Traditions
• Cleveland Historical built to be extensible• Tried to embed best technology & interpretivepractice– Project management– Technological architecture– Built around stories not archival objects– Requisite technical skill• Developed strategy for extending project– Low Cost or Open– Provide Support– Clear brand identity + technical features– Emphasize partner identity & communityconnections• Constructed long-term project-management planCase Study:Cleveland Historical becomes Curatescape
• Mobile ―Framework‖– Robust standards-based, open, content management using Omeka– Mobile apps & mobile optimized Web; i.e. clevelandhistorical.org• Architecture emphasizes interpretation– Geo-located stories– Tours as thematic, geographic, temporal context– Interpretive storytelling– Layered archival content– Multi-media: text, images, audio, and video• Social, educational and community context– Social sharing, comments, authors, links• Print and Physical context– QR (Quick Response) codes for interactivity (eventually NFC)– Templates for posters, window clings, tours brochures
A Tool for MobileCurationSpokane (Eastern Washington University)New Orleans (UNO & Tulane)Geauga County (Century Village Museum)Explore Baltimore (Baltimore Heritage Inc.)Explore Medina (Medina Schools)Explore KY History (KY Historical Society)Explore CU (University of Illinois)Discover St. Paul (Historic St. Paul)Historic Mt. Pleasant (Main Street Mt.Pleasant)Scioto Historical (Shawnee State University)NW PA Heritage (Allegheny College)Sakonnet Historical (Brown University)Hoosier Historical (IUPUI, Statewide)Reno Historical (University of Nevada)Arcadiana Historical (University of Louisiana)Smithsonian Gardens (Smithsonian Institution)
Public Curation as Performance• Julio Cortazar wanted literature to be like improvisationjazz• http://urbanhumanist.org/digital-humanities-as-jazz/• Cortazar wanted a literature of takes, of brilliantimprovisations whose beauty lay in the moment not inrecorded and edited perfection• Imagine DH as a series of improvisations• demands the extemporaneous skills of the classroom• of building public communities• of meeting the demands of collaboration and exchange• of speaking with not to the audience• like open source it is at its most dynamic when thecommunity determines the direction of development30
Performing Digital Humanities32• Creating Events (i.e. tours)• Phone only, docent-led, hybrids• Walk, bike, auto?• Classroom as performance• Students build content, tours, orjust explore• Content development asperformance• Crowdsourcing, communitysourcing, and teaching• Marketing as performance• Downloading from app store as―call to action‖• Re-branding space• Discovery through windowclings, QR codes, or NFC?
Building Community• Community Sourcing–Training collaborators–Collaboration builds engagement• Impact–12,000 downloads–300 CSU students–100 community members/organizations–30 teachers + students use Cleveland Historical–25 community tours–80K – 100K unique web visitors per year; 200K pageviews–500K words, 4K images, 1K audio clips, 100 videos in500 stories• Crossing the digital divide–Multiple modes of accessibility: web, mobile, print & non-digital project elements
Curatescape next challenges• More deployments, better UX, wider functionality• Aggregation, mashup, remix– Federated network using metadata to connect stories– Semantic web as a way to build contextual meaning– Connections across projects (i.e. tours)• Complexity: Part verse whole• User-based data experiences– Algorithms, ‗Itineraries,‘ and story development• Analytics + Visitor studies• What do we mean by ―augmented reality?‖• Geo-location: Why?• Indoors, multi-level, close spaces (or changing spaces?)• Geo-caching, questing, gaming?• Ala SCAVNGR, ARIS, or Paris Comic Street
Collaborative Curation Matters• Stories & Interpretive Context as central as the Artifacts– Landscape as history– Materiality matters– Layered subjectivities– Interpretation as context– Historical thinking• Metadata matters• Digitial preservation is vital• Open is vital– Open data (Cooper Hewitt)– Linked data– Open source content management
Mobile accentuates trends of Digital Age• Landscapes—cityscapes, museums, the environment—have beentransformed• We now live in pervasive learning laboratories• Museum & classroom walls have exploded, new learning possibilities• Aggregation & crowdsourcing powerful forces for knowledge production• Building communities of learners/knowledge producers throughcollaboration & training (i.e. community sourcing), including social markupof archives• Undergraduates, community members, teachers, K-12 students• Technology training must be broad– Coding, metadata, tools, archival management, & storytelling• Information design matters• Practice is Theory• Research on user experience & learning outcomes• Games