How do you define 'sense of place'? What makes a place special? What stories, buildings, places, people, define it? HeritageCrowd is a project to give members of the public the tools to define the cultural heritage of their place, wherever and whatever it may be. Even if you don't have very good internet access, you can still contribute using cell-phone text messages, voicemail, and other channels.
This project, headed by Professor Shawn Graham and students Nadine Feuerherm and Guy Massie at Carleton University, rethinks the way that people share and interact with local history and heritage. Through the use of a number of technologies such as text messaging, voice mail, and the internet, we will test the possibility for creating a database of local history knowledge by asking for contributions from the community. This type of approach is known as "crowdsourcing," and while it has been used to gather information about ongoing events such as the violence following the 2008 elections in Kenya, it has yet to be used in this way in the area of heritage and local history. The contributions made to the project will be stored and displayed on a website for the public. On our 'stories' page, students and researchers can do further research on the items contributed by the public, creating exhibitions and other digital stories.
In the same way that the Memory Project is working to record the stories of veterans from the Second World War, we believe that there is an untapped resource in the historical knowledge of members from the community. The different ways of contributing to this project mean that anyone with telephone or internet access can share what they know about a place, event, building, or other topic related to local history. Our goal is to create an automated method of storing and digitally curating local heritage and history. In this way, our research hopes to benefit rural areas, and other regions of the world, that may otherwise face obstacles in attracting interest and attention about local history from the larger public.
This project is funded by a Junior Research Fellowship, and will make extensive use of the Omeka and Ushahidi web-based platforms. It will use the Upper Ottawa Valley as a "testing ground" for the project, and in particular the Pontiac MRC region in Western Quebec.
About the Project
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Stories from the Crowd
Stories from the Crowd is the research and storytelling arm of HeritageCrowd.org. Here you will find items and collections submitted by the public, on which we do further research. Ultimately, we will take this research and produce exhibitions and digital stories revealing and celebrating our cultural heritage