Software for local history?
February 14, 2011 5:38 AM Subscribe
How are people using software and the net to gather and write local history?
posted by pracowity to computers & internet (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of people know a little local history: who lived where, what happened where, what stores were along this street and what they sold, what was in this building, what it was like to work on some long-gone dairy farm, how to find the foundations of an old house or school or bridge or railway, what it was like to be a student in that old school or work on that old railway, etc. People might not know exact dates and addresses, but they will know what came before this and after that, what was next to what, what books or songs or movies were popular at the time, what kind of car they were driving clothes they were wearing, and so on.
But collating it all must be hard work. People know where the cemeteries are, for instance, but documenting an entire old cemetery and linking every worn stone to a real person who lived in the community must be murder.
It seems to me that some good software could be used to fit these pieces together geographically and chronologically, link text and media, and make a framework that you could use to understand and write local history, archeology, and genealogy. Genealogy data could be used to fill things out and to help determine locations and dates. Cemetery readings could be semi-automated by linking to existing local history sources to find likely names and dates. Relative dates (happened before, happened after, happened during, etc.) could make it a lot easier to incorporate fuzzy memories into the story.
So someone must already be doing things like this. What are they doing and what tools are they using? How do they coordinate work as a team and a community?