History Trends

This is a collection of the links related to the brief presentation on History Trends that I am doing at the Massachusetts Library Association Conference tomorrow.

Facial Recognition

Picasa and other image management systems have facial recognition that can help identify and tag people in photographs. Systems need to be taught who people are, but the software can be very useful with historic images as well.

Mass. Memories Road Show

Mass Memories Road Show — Official site where you can search and browse images “The Mass. Memories Road Show is an initiative of the Massachusetts Studies Project at UMass Boston, co-sponsored by Mass Humanities and the Joseph P. Healey Library.”

Mass. Memories Road Show Presentation — Great presentation by Heather Cole, Assistant Director of the Mass. Memories Road Show

“Wakefield Then and Now” Photo Contest

“Wakefield Then & Now” Photo Contest — Contest announcement

“Wakefield Then & Now” Photo Contest Winners — Announcement of the winning photographs

“Wakefield Then & Now” — Flickr set

Corner of Water Street and Wakefield Avenue — Record for a then & now set in the library catalog


World War I Monument
Eastman Building, 1888 — Photograph of the Eastman Building in Melrose, Massachusetts, on Flickr

Jenny Greenwood — Photograph of the grave of Jenny Greenwood, 1851-1862, Laurel Hill Cemetery, Reading, Massachusetts, on Flickr

World War I Monument — Transcription of names and dates from monument in Hamilton, Massachusetts


Revolution of 1689

Boulevard Diner — Worcester Lunch Car Company #730, 1936, on Flickr

Revolution of 1689 — Photograph of Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Marker on Flickr

The Historical Marker Database — Crowdsourced database of historical markers around the world with transcribed text, photographs, longitude and latitude, categories and more

Dr. P.H. Peach, Dentist
Dr. P.H. Peach, Dentist — Screenshot of old advertisement from a book in the Internet Archive on Flickr

Worcester History Images from the Internet Archive — Blog post

$5K homes in Mt. Pleasant, 1905 — From a set of historic images of Washington, DC by rockcreek on Flickr

Solving Mysteries

Hugh Butterworth — Flickr member phototrack123 and his wife buy old portrait photographs, identify the subjects and research the family with a goal of sending the photograph to descendents

Harry Montague as Captain Molyneux in “The Shaugraun” 1875 — Read the comments to see a group working together to identify the subject of this photograph

Unclaimed Persons — Volunteer genealogists work together to identify possible relatives for cases where the identity of the deceased is known but the next of kin is unknown


MobileGenealogy.com — “Dedicated to news, reviews and information about mobile devices and genealogy software”

QR codes in use at the Powerhouse Museum — Linking exhibits to more information

Encyclopedia Virginia — Using Layar with the Encyclopedia’s geolocated content out in the real world

Wikitude — Another augmented reality browser that overlays information and images on your view of the world

The World is Not Flat: Information Literacy in Three Dimensions

Libraries have traditionally dealt mostly with two-dimensional objects: books, maps and pictures and other objects that are inherently flat. But the world is not composed of two-dimensional objects, and computer technology now makes it easy to present information in 3D so the user can explore different angles and viewpoints. 3D systems are important now in all kinds of geographical work, including meteorology and ecology; in community planning, architecture and design; in forensics, medicine and science and many other fields of study.

Young people typically get their first experiences working with 3D systems in the world of gaming, but there are now powerful, simple, free programs that allow users to explore 3D information in the real world, including Google Earth, which is a 3D mapping program, and SketchUp, with can be used to create models of buildings and much more.

Google Maps

Although Google Maps is not a three-dimensional program, but it is an interactive, highly mixable application that allows many different types of data to be presented geographically. It also has one very important 3D function — it gives you an easy way to create files that can be read in the 3D Google Earth program.

Google Earth

Google Earth is a free software program that you download to your PC. It’s normally used online, and is the best-known example of a virtual globe program. It’s an interactive, three-dimensional geographic program. Anyone can create and share files in the Google Earth format (KMZ) — one way to do this is through Google Maps. Google Earth files are collections of placepoints or markers. These markers can include text, images, links, etc. Additional content is added to Google Earth through layers, which can include travel information, news, images, YouTube videos, historic maps, environmental data, and anything else that has been or can be geocoded.

Google Earth Links

Google Earth Community


SketchUp is a separate free program that can be downloaded from Google. It’s used to make 3D models of all kinds, including photorealistic models of real buildings that can be placed on Google Earth. SketchUp can also be used for any other type of 3D models, including household objects, people, animals and imaginary creatures, etc. SketchUp is a simple, versatile and extremely powerful 3D program that can be extended through the use of plugins. The SketchyPhysics plugin, for example, lets users create moving models that obey the laws of physics.

Google has created a lot of interesting content, including models of the American Institute of Architects 150 favorite works. Members of the Google community also contribute individual models and whole collections to the Google 3D Warehouse. These shared models are a great learning tool and are one of the reasons SketchUp has been so successful.

How to Make a Simple House — A very helpful, basic demonstration by a young user — great for beginners!