The first project idea is for work, but with various standards and rules that our on-line content must meet, my involvement would probably be limited to just proposing the idea. The Archives has numerous on-line exhibits (http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/) and I believe most of them are done in collaboration with contractors, but we do have a web program staff and an exhibits staff to oversea such projects. I’ve already talked about my idea in a past blog, but I think that mapping technology would be excellent tool for an on-line exhibit. The Archives is currently working on an exhibit, which is currently entitled “Digital Vaults”. The company hired to create the exhibit is Second Story (www.secondstory.com), who has created a number of exhibit web sites for various companies and institutions. They created a site for National Geographic entitled “Exploring the Chesapeake Bay Then and Now” (http://nationalgeographic.com/chesapeake/). The site is Flash-based and allows visitors to explore the bay virtually through the use of a map interface. I would propose using our large collection of aerial views of the United States taken by the Army Air Corps in the 1920’s through WWII. My idea is to create a web site which utilizes mapping technology by allowing visitors to view recent satellite images of a particular area and enable them to click on a marker to see how the area looked 60 to 80 years ago. I actually fooled around with mapbuilder.net to show some of my colleagues the possibilities. Cost would probably be the biggest issue. I was curious about the price of the Digital Vaults project and the price is a staggering $300,000. I did find out that this does not come out of the Archives budget. It is funded by the Foundation for the National Archives, which is directed by individuals in the private sector who raise money to support outreach projects and programs.
I’ve already started to work on my second idea, which is pretty much just a personal site using images from my unit. It is loosely based on the select lists that we created many years ago in hard copy form that have now been digitized and can be found at http://www.archives.gov/research/formats/photographs-dc.html . They are basically publications, which feature select images from a particular subject. Titles include “Pictures of World War II”, “Pictures of the Civil War”, and “Photographs of the American West, 1881-1912”. My web site utilizes the above mentioned Army Air Corps photographs to create a similar type of select list. It’s like a catalog of images. The address for my site is www.bwade-project.com .