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Mobile Libraries Conference 2012

The project team will present a paper on PhoneBooth at the M-Libraries conference at the Open University 24-26th September 2012.

The abstract is copied below.

http://www.m-libraries.org/

PhoneBooth: ‘mobilising’ library-owned digital content for use in teaching

Ed Fay (LSE), Andrea Gibbons (LSE), James Reid (EDINA)

We will present the results of the PhoneBooth project which is repurposing digitised, library-owned maps and notebooks for delivery to mobile devices and use in undergraduate teaching.

The Charles Booth Maps, Descriptive of London Poverty and selected police notebooks, which record eye-witness descriptions of London street-by-street, are used in London’s Geographies, a 2nd/3rd year undergraduate course which interprets the geographies of the present in relation to the past as portrayed in historical sources.

The mobilisation enables students to consult the historical archive in the contemporary location to which it refers, revolutionising the relationship to the content. Further pedagogical impact is delivered through functionality allowing students to bookmark and reference their interaction with the material, which is used as the basis for new forms of assessment.

A prototype mobile web application was developed at EDINA using open source technologies which were incorporated into LSE Digital Library for delivery. This utilised the expertise of EDINA and upskilled LSE staff in mobile and geo technologies, providing foundations for future digital library service developments. The integration of technologies into the existing digital library technology stack and the preservation of the content within LSE Digital Library ensure sustainability.

The application will have been piloted in May 2012 by the current course cohort and the project will investigate the extent to which the mobile delivery has changed perceptions of the role of the content and the library in the teaching process.

We conclude that the ‘mobilisation’ of library-owned content can have a significant impact on pedagogical method; that mobile and geo delivery provide the basis for innovative library service development; and that mobile technology skills are becoming an essential component of the modern library.

PhoneBooth was funded under the mobile libraries strand of the JISC Digital Infrastructure Portfolio 12/11.

Pulling apart the old application

Following on from our teleconference we here at Edina thought it was a good opportunity to provide a blog post on our findings so far, and try and give a brief outline of the information we have been able to extract from the data provided to us by LSE.

The first task was to try and locate the map images that have been utilised by the old web application and we came across the Booth map and a more modern Bartholomew map of London. Both maps were in the MrSID format (interestingly developed in the USA for the storing of fingerprints for the FBI), but importantly for us is proprietary in nature and we needed to convert the images to a different format.  In the GIS world a commonly used set of tools for translating and transforming geospatial data is offered by GDAL; the ‘Geospatial Data Abstraction Library’. (http://tinyurl.com/yw34w4 ). These tools provide a variety of command-line utilities and using ‘gdal-translate’ we converted the MrSID maps to tiff files, a more commonly used format in GIS.

Now that we had a usable tiff image of the Booth map, the first major issue we came across was that unfortunately the map did not appear to be georeferenced, meaning that there were no accompanying files, or indeed any imbedded information that would establish its location in terms of map projections or coordinate systems.  This is a major problem and without this information overlaying the image over modern maps would be impossible.  (For more information on map projections take a look here:  http://tinyurl.com/25gltb ). From a little digging around into the old application it seems that the georeferencing had been applied via the use of Perl scripts and it would be difficult for us to extract the required information, so we would have to try and georeference the map ourselves manually.  The process of georeferencing an image involves selecting a set of control points and relating them to a map with a known coordinate system and projection – thankfully most modern GIS software programs handle this process easily and take away the pain of some of the complicated mathematics involved.  (A good overview of the georeferencing process in ESRI ArcMap can be found here:  http://tinyurl.com/2whflza).

  • The projection that you select when georeferencing has a strong baring on the quality of the result. If you choose a map projection similar to that used by the initial map (Booth map), you have a much better chance of matching the control map. As it appears that the Booth maps were derived from a base of the old ‘county series’ of Ordnance Survey (OS) maps, it is highly likely that they were created using the ‘Cassini Projection’ as this was the projection most commonly used at the time. (The Ordnance Survey give a brief history here:  http://tinyurl.com/84pjb4d).  This leads us to make the selection of the OSGB 1936 projection otherwise known as the ‘British National Grid’.  In many ways this was the successor to the Cassini projection and is still used today. Choosing this projection will also make things easier later on when we try to integrate any new service with items such as gazetteers and additional mapping.
  • At Edina we have access to all modern Ordnance Survey base maps and these were used as our control maps. We didn’t select the Bartholomew map simply because it is slightly dated and would probably not be used in any application we develop.

Ultimately the software provides a service to stretch the Booth map and try and fit it against the backdrop of the more modern mapping.  The results so far have been encouraging but will still need some tweaking. It is also important to note that with the Booth maps being produced over 100 years ago, they used old surveying techniques and didn’t have the benefit of modern technology such as GPS so in some cases it may be impossible to get a ‘perfect match’, the hope is to get the best you possibly can.

An additional finding while digging through the data included a postgres database schema containing geographically referenced point information, with one table alone containing 47,000 points!! The tables include a variety of information such as postcodes, streets, wards, landmarks, parishes and walks.  The first thing we noticed is that the data is stored in simple straight tables and is not spatially enabled.  PostGIS is an open source software program that adds support for geographic objects in the postgres database and the data will need to be processed to fit the new data model. Once the data fits the PostGIS model, GIS web applications can interact with the data more easily and adds additional facilities such as coordinate transformation support, advanced indexing, the ability to store polygon and line data (as well as points) and also offers the killer ability to perform queries against the data via spatial SQL. Utilising Spatial SQL will allow us to answer questions such as:  ‘show me all the notebook entries within one mile of my location’, or ‘show me all the notebook entries in a certain postcode’.  There are many more advantages of spatially enabling your database and more information can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/27aqmor).

From an initial look at the data held in the tables the quality or accuracy can be improved upon and we will be investigating what our options are here. Importantly though, there is a clear link between geographical locations and notebook pages.

Other discoveries were of the many scanned images of the Booth notebooks and additionally Booth’s family magazine called ‘The Colony’. For many of these there appears to be multiple copies in different formats: a ‘gif’ thumbnail preview, and a larger version in ‘jpeg’ and ‘DjVu’ formats.

So now that we have:

  • A georeferenced Booth map (may need some tweaking)
  • A postgres database schema  with geographically referenced point information (needs translating into PostGIS)
  • Scanned images of the Booth Notebooks (needs linking to the database tables)

we have the building blocks to start developing a GIS web application for initial demonstration purposes that possesses all the tools familiar to the users of products such as Google maps.  This will allow us to examine the relative success of our georeferencing process and also give us the ability to test out some of the core and optional functionality defined in a previous blog post.

From user to functional requirements

Following discussions with EDINA we have agreed on a catagorisaton of desired functionality: core (or ‘must-have’), optional (or ‘nice-to-have’) and out-of-scope.

Core functionality

  • Maps delivered in resolutions suitable for mobile devices
  • Map scroll-able, zoom-able to different levels of detail
  • Plotting of current location on the map using supplied GPS location
  • Plotting of location points on the map (to represent notebook entries)
  • Showing a walkable route plotted between multiple locations on the map
  • Browse of available location-points by category (taken from the catalogue – e.g. “Irish” or “butchers” etc.)
  • Notebook entry pages delivered to a page-turner (or some sequence of multiple pages) – linked through the location points plotted on the map
  • Notebook entries to have an email function (email me this page/location entry) for retrieval from a desktop

Optional functionality

  • Mash-ups with external content – e.g. the police street-level crime data API, or Yelp to determine which businesses listed in the notebooks are still present today
  • Crowdsourcing comments on location entries
  • Audio narrations of location entries or walks
  • A pub crawl walking route of pubs that existed at the time of the map/survey!

Out-of-scope

  • Transcription of notebook entries

The wishlist meets reality

We met after putting together the student wishlist for our PhoneBooth app to figure out just what we think we can do with it and what we can’t. I’m definitely fascinated by the technological aspects and have a background in GIS from a long ago Masters in Urban Planning, but I confess even with that it’s hard to wrap my head around some of the issues we are facing. I did delight in the use of familiar words in completely unfamiliar ways, of course, and I was able to do so because I wasn’t the one hired for my tech savy. There was plenty of that in the room without me, what I do apologize for is the lack of intentional punning ability as requested by students, but I shall try.

The initial decision the tech team will face is what mapping platform to use. Google maps seems the obvious choice as it’s the most familiar to students, which is definitely a plus, and might also make it easier to toggle between earth view and map view. On the down side, we all agreed that we often found their maps to be wrong surprisingly often in London, which is also problematic. An alternative we discussed was openstreemap.org, which I personally like: first because it’s open source, and second because even more than that, it’s built upon crowd sourcing, which was one aspect we were thinking about how to incorporate into the project.

But there are more things to be considered of course, like projection. Projection is one of those issues that people who have never made maps have ever had to think about, but it’s vitally important. In taking information that is three-dimensional and turning it into two dimensions, you obviously lose or distort some information. Any projection (and there are an infinite number really) has involved a choice over which information to keep, which to lose, and which to distort. This makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to layer maps (as well as politically tricky sometimes, as our world maps that wrongly show the US and Europe to be as big or bigger than Africa prove). So PhoneBooth comes down to the difficulties in taking a map created over a hundred years ago using god knows what projection, and having it overlay perfectly onto a current map in a different projection, while also being able to smoothly zoom in and zoom out as needed without losing any overlay capacity or detail.

Can we manage that? Hopefully Edina can tell us.

With all of that, we should still be able to provide the Booth Map as an overlay to a map of London as it is now, that you can make more or less transparent as you need, that shows your own position using GPS, and that shows you the places that available journal entries refer to. We think we should be able to link this to additional information, the crime maps in particular caught our fancy, but potentially others as well. We should also be able to allow users to bring up notebook locations by category (ie mentions of occupation, ethnic group etc), though more work has to be done looking at how the notebook entries were initially digitised ten years ago. Ideally, each entry would have its own fixed url that can be linked to and referenced. If we link those up to the extensive index, whether to each and every index entries or those we’ve had to prioritise, it should allow the app to facilitate searches across all the notebooks. This index isn’t currently accessible to the general public, so as a researcher I find that quite exciting. I also hadn’t realised how many other entries and notebooks remain to be digitised, which is even more exciting. But we’ll have to find more funding to get that all digital.

From my previous GIS experiences it seemed to me easy enough to show the various routes walked by the notebook authors as just another visual overlay onto the maps, which would allow people to follow those if they liked. Creating more customised maps or possible walks, showing specific industries or mentions of prostitition or whatever, seemed a nice idea, but not a priority. That would be something we’d follow up if we could get everything else up and running smoothly. Audio clips seemed to fall into this category as well. Still, we thought it might be a very good idea to do at least one just to see how it might work, especially if we could link it into the student desire to be able to see what from Booth’s time still existed as it was. Pubs seemed a good thing to start with, as they are easy enough to find, were mentioned directly by students, and would be a fun way to experience history and spend an afternoon out that all users could (and we thought most certainly would) enjoy. There was also plenty of direct experience of old pubs among us, not a bad place to start then.

We were also thinking about how to allow students to save searches or make comments, which leads into the things that will be impossible for now. Having a fully functional comment section where users can log in, share their thoughts, see comments made by others in the user community, or save personlised maps, will require a large amount of monitoring and administration time. This really isn’t possible at this stage as nice as it sounds, though we were trying to think what would be good to build into the backend of the system now to have some or most of that functionality if we should want it. It’s always easier to do that kind of work all at once and up front.

As a teacher these difficulties made me sad, as it seems ideal to not only be able to hear people’s thoughts on what they are seeing or reading, but also to crowdsource additional places to go for more information on specific issues. For the moment, one possible compromise seemed to be making it possible for students to simply email themselves the relevant entries (or just the urls), and allowing them to type their thoughts into the email itself as a way of taking quick notes while actually in the place referred to.This to me seemed essential if we wanted students to use this to actually carry out research in the field.

I was more than satisfied with what it appears we’ll be able to do!

Of course, there were a number of things that were mentioned that we just won’t be able to do. To have all the records transcribed and turned into searchable text is clearly a good, but incredibly time-consuming and expensive, idea. At some point in the future this may happen, but not immediately. Again, for the multiple links to other library resources, like Mayhew or photographs, this is definitely doable, but only as the digital library grows, and it seems better to start with one particular data set, then add additional things in. Making this available to people on their computers as well as their phones is also difficult at this stage, and would have to be built into the updates of the Booth website as it doesn’t have the capabilities at present, another project.

The alert system that sends you a message when you pass something of interest seemed to us to be really brilliant, but again, rather difficult to do. It just might be possible as its own little app, but the fact that it might have to be customised to work with each phone platform made that a little daunting.

So now it remains to send our thoughts and wishes to EDINA, and get it all moving. We all know there is bound to be some more back and forth about what we can and cannot do, but the excitement is still rising.

PhoneBooth Project Plan

The main goal of PhoneBooth is to repackage the Charles Booth Maps, Descriptive of London Poverty and selected notebooks from contemporary police observations for delivery to mobile devices. These materials are already available digitally through the Charles Booth Online Archive.

We will pilot the use of the mobilised maps and notebooks in a taught undergraduate course at LSE: London’s Geographies.

Project Outputs

The main objectives of the project are:

  • To enhance the existing Booth data to enable mobile delivery
  • To produce a model and technical capacity for the mobile delivery of Library-owned content
  • To engage with LSE academics and students involved in the London’s Geographies course to inform the development of mobile Library content
  • To evaluate the impact of mobilised content on teaching
  • To enhance the student experience of the course
  • To facilitate knowledge transfer within the professional community

The outputs from the project will be:

  • User/functional requirements for mobile content delivery
  • A revised course syllabus to include assesment of students’ use of the mobile content
  • Booth maps and notebooks in georeferenced preservation and delivery formats
  • Fedora/Hydra content models for geodata
  • Ingest of the Booth maps/notebooks into LSE Digital Library and an API for spatial query
  • A prototype web application for the delivery of Booth maps and notebooks to mobile devices
  • Knowledge transfer between EDINA and LSE
  • Report on the development of mobile content and its impact on teaching

Success measures:

  • A working prototype mobile web application that is used successfully by this year’s student cohort taking London’s Geographies
  • Increased knowledge of mobile and spatial technologies in the LSE Digital Library team
  • A positive impact on the teaching methodology of London’s geographies and a demonstrated engagement between the Library and academic community

Project Team

The project partners are LSE and EDINA. LSE own the collection and are responsible for gathering user requirements and project management/direction. EDINA are responsible for developing the technical prototype and sharing knowledge of the implementation with the LSE Digital Library Team

Project board (LSE)

  • Nicola Wright (deputy director of library service)
  • Sue Donnelly (head of archives)
  • Sharad Chari (lecturer, London’s geographies)

LSE staff

  • Ed Fay [@digitalfay] (digital library manager) – project management
  • Andrea Gibbons [@changita] (GTA, London’s Geographies) – gathering requirments from students and co-ordinating the piloting work
  • Andrew Amato (digital library developer) – ingesting the content into our digital library infrastructure and providing it out through APIs
  • Peter Spring (metadata technical officer, LSE) – providing support for the metadata aspects of the project

EDINA staff

  • James Reid [@sixfootdestiny] (geoservices manager) – project co-ordination and technical architecture
  • George Hamilton (software engineer) – technical prototyping of the application
  • John Pinto (software engineer) – technical prototyping of the application
  • Lasma Sietinsone (gi analyst) – providing support for the geographic aspects of the project

Timeline and work packages

Workpackage Owner Deliverables Timescale
0 – Project management LSE
  • Project initiation (project plan and budget)
  • Project communications (blog, Twitter)
  • Reporting (JISC, LSE Digital Library Steering Board)
November 2011 – July 2012
1 – User requirements analysis LSE
  • Report on user requirements
  • Revised course syllabus
  • Functional requirements
November 2011 – December 2011
2 – Data preparation EDINA
  • Booth maps and notebooks in georeferenced preservation and delivery formats
  • Knowledge transfer to LSE
January 2012 – March 2012
3 – Development: Digital Library LSE
  • Fedora/Hydra content models for geodata
  • Ingest of Booth content into LSE Digital Library
  • API for spatial query of Booth content
February 2012 – April 2012
4 – Development: delivery prototype EDINA
  • Prototype web application (initial version delivered April 2012 for testing, refinements and knowledge transfer to complete by June 2012)
  • Knowledge transfer to LSE
February 2012 – June 2012
5 – Piloting LSE
  • Use of the prototype in the 2011/12 ‘London’s Geographies’ course
  • Report on findings: pedagogical impact
  • Refinements to the course syllabus for 2012/13
April 2012 – May 2012
6 – Reporting on findings LSE
  • Case study on the development of mobile content and its impact on teaching
May 2012 – July 2012

Risk analysis

Risk Probability (1-5) Severity (1-5) Impact (Probability x Severity) Action
Project staff become unavailable 3 2 6
  • Project resources will be used to replace project team members. In all cases, the organisational context is such that project-specific knowledge and support can be provided by colleagues.
  • All project staff are existing, permanent staff of their respective institutions—the project does not require any additional recruitment.
  • The offer of extra hours to part-time staff to fill the project assistant post is an approach that has been used successfully at LSE on a number of digitisation projects.
Mobile prototype is not useful in course context 4 1 4
  • A thorough understanding of general user needs and requirements as well as those specific to the aims of the taught course will be the basis for development.
  • The Booth content is already used in the course and is suited to the course syllabus.
Booth content does not lend itself to geographic discovery or mobile delivery 5 1 5
  • Booth content is already provided for geo-discovery – giving high confidence that the remaining content can be delivered successfully. Comparison will be sought with other projects which have successfully delivered large format map and multi-page textual material to mobile devices.
The taught course does not run after the 2011/12 academic year 1 2 2
  • The prototype will be designed for a general audience as well as the specific needs of the taught course, making PhoneBooth available to existing, mature audiences of the Charles Booth Online Archive.
  • The prototype and service model will be designed to be useful for other content and delivery contexts, maximising reuse potential for other taught courses and collections.
The technical prototype and mobile access points are not maintained following project closure 1 3 3
  • The content and applications will be embedded into the infrastructure of the LSE Digital Library which is a major, strategic innovation and has a commitment of permanent, technical resource for its maintenance and development.
Smartphone ownership in the pilot cohort is not sufficient for use of content in teaching 4 2 8
  • The LSE Library Student Survey suggests that smartphone ownership will be sufficient for pairs of students to work together in the field – an approach acceptable to the course lecturer

Budget

The total project budget is £85,659 (£43,206 from JISC). Most of the LSE staff time and nearly all of the indirect and estates costs are institutional contributions.

budget-chart

PhoneBooth Begins!

Last Tuesday (22ndNovember) the class visited the library instead of having a lecture, and entered a room with books all prepared and set up for them to peruse, one in front of each seat in a big circle. We had a lovely presentation from Anna, who talked about the archives and how they came to be housed at LSE, and then walked the students through what exactly it is we have, how to access it, and how to cite it. Each of them had time to skim through the original Booth notebooks and look at early printings of Mayhew’s book, and that was definitely the highlight of the visit for all of the students according to later feedback. All of them really appreciated actually being able to hold the original material in their hands. At the same time, many of them still felt that the archives were a little intimidating, still weren’t entirely sure how to access them on an every day basis, and in a digital age felt a trip to the library might dissuade them. Even where that wasn’t true, everyone agreed that it was fantastic that they were also available online, and really liked the idea of a phone app where it would be even more accessible. Several seemed quite taken with the idea of being able to access information while walking around the city, and one even went so far as to call the phone app ‘fun’ which should bring joy to every teacher.One issue is certainly that not all students have smart phones, I’d say from the original shows of hands, at least a quarter don’t, but I confess I was a bit surprised at how many did. Given it’s LSE I maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised. I imagine in a year or so it will be very few students who don’t have access to them, but I think ensuring that it as accessible to the whole student population is really important, and some thought must go into helping students who don’t have phones and need to access this resource for classes without any onus. I see it as a rather transformative way to interact with a historic resource, and to limit it would be both tragic and unjust.That said, the following Friday we had our first discussion class, Ed was present from the digital collections to say a bit about the project and then immediately we were off, it was quite exhilarating. I think we came up with a lot of great ideas for making a truly killer phone app, though we shall see how many of them are remotely possible! I don’t think the students expected the raciness and the brilliant detail of the Booth diaries at all, and who would? But they contain descriptions of opium dens, Irish wakes with the pub being set on fire (just like Finnegans Wake in fact, but no one made the connection sadly), and an immense amount of detail about the ins and outs of prostitution. So they definitely wanted the phone app to reflect just how exciting the material could be, through guided walks or specific maps set up and looking at prostitution or crime…the meaty stuff. They were also interested in being able to pull up things that still exist today as they did in that time, which in a sense is the best possible way to experience the continuities between past and present. The Booth map pub crawl was a brilliant idea.There are three key things that I hope, as a teacher, will be quite doable, the first is making it possible to access the data in different ways. To pull up your own location on a map using GPS and see where the nearest diary locations are, or to overlay the actual Booth map over the present day map is of obvious benefit, and immensely interesting. But I hadn’t thought about the possibilities of creating maps, or creating your own walks based on more specific requests. Some of the ideas students had: to explore by Booth’s colour code, to explore by occupation or industry, to have points of interest in women’s history, or the settlement patterns of the Irish, or areas of high crime or those known for opium or prostitution. The level of detail in the diaries should technically allow all of this, and it would be a fascinating way to narrow in and study these specific geographies.

The second key point: they also wanted a way to save the link or to record details, the principal thought was through an easy way to email yourself the information. This would clearly be a key component of making it an effective research tool that can be easily integrated into your everyday movements, and another thing I hadn’t thought of.

The last key functionality as I see it, is to create a way to interact with other users in the form of comments and knowledge-sharing, with ideally the potential of uploading your own personalised map to a central webpage, or even make it available through other forms of social media like facebook. In this way there could be a community of users learning from each other in how they are using the materials and where additional information can be found to augment what LSE’s archives contain.

Not as key, but potentially quite brilliant is that you get a text or a ping from your phone wherever you pass a point with diary material that you have requested it for. Again, I cannot conceive a more interesting way to integrate archive material into daily life, or integrate the past with the present. This would make you aware of such history literally wherever you go in London, whether on a night out or a trip home to see your family. It’s a fascinating thing to imagine how this might change your perspective on present surroundings that are easy to take for granted.

There were many other interesting ideas, though they seemed to be a bit more of a wishlist in terms of technical difficulty or time-intensiveness but would be quite good to think about making a reality at some point. Or I might be surprised in how possible they are now, I won’t know until these go to Andrew! But they involved making this a multi-media as possible, with audio of key journal entries, or recorded audio walks that could be done to avoid always looking at the screen and get away from some of the difficulty in reading the handwriting of the scanned versions. Students wanted as much material available as possible through the application: photographs and sketches from various times (at best like street view), the ability to compare Booth maps with census data and the 1930s population survey, the ability to overlay the crime maps.

Monday’s class wasn’t quite as exuberant or generate as many ideas, perhaps because almost a week had passed since the archives visit, or because it was a Monday morning, or because I wasn’t as energetic…but even so, it was fascinating to see how similar many of the ideas were. The first comment was again on how hard the original sources were to read and the desire to see them as both scans and text. Students also immediately spoke up about wanting to access the data in different ways…again, interestingly, occupation was the first thing mentioned. Religion was a new cut on it. They definitely wanted as many extra links as possible, and the other key points were also hit: to be able to save searches or entries or locations (whether through logging in and using bookmarks or by emailing it to yourself, they didn’t seem fussed), and the ability to comment and interact with other users. A key addition to the comments was the ability to make your comments public or keep them private. It’s obvious that would be a really great functionality.

All together, the students were quite excited about what this could do. Below is the list I put up on the whiteboards as we were brainstorming. The black is from Friday’s class, the blue X marks the same idea from Monday’s class, and comments in blue are new suggestions.

  • Walks built into app, with podcasts X
  • What about streets that no longer exist? Need an overlay
  • Photos/ sketches available, combine with other resources
  • Link to census data (ie animated graphs from the economist)
  • Link to crime maps
  • Link to Mayhew
  • Access handwritten/ transcribed records – issue with legibility, should be able to access both X
  • Be able to access data in different ways / categorise the contents X
  • Womens history
  • By occupation or industry X
  • Religion
  • By race/ ethnicity
  • Rankings (colour of map)
  • Crimes / prostitution
  • People – Genealogical info
  • Direct interviews v description – direct interviews more interesting
  • Stations and transport?
  • Puns (no wait, we might have added that in…)
  • Audio quotes of choice passages, to switch to audio as you walk
  • Make maps also available on line for those without phone, able to print out etc
  • ‘on this day’ quotes
  • Street view (where you can hold your phone up and overlay a picture with what is currently there…)
  • Alternative to street view, be able to toggle back and forth with google earth – you can easily see what is there now
  • Things that still exist as they were in that time – is pubs –Booth pub crawl
  • Alert system that sends you a message when you pass something of interest – tag alerts
  • Create your own map and save it, publish it not only to homepage but also facebook, other social media
  • Users can interact with each other – can see popularity of certain places or entries, other users comments and the ability to add links and etc augmenting the info with additional sources
  • Second class used the example of YELP, user comments can be pasted, could see level of interest of that particular entry or location
  • For comments, should be able to make public or keep private and save them
  • Ability to save your maps, journal entries, notes – email to self X
  • Alternative is to be able to bookmark things via a login process, 2nd class didn’t see either as preferable

So now this goes to the amazing tech guys and they tell us just what they can do…we’re looking forward to it!

PhoneBooth Basics

Charles Booth’s Enquiry into London Life and Labour (1886-1902) was the first attempt to undertake a systematic survey of living and working conditions in a single city and provides a unique insight into the lives of Londoners during the period. The archive of the survey includes interviews with Londoners from all walks of life, eye-witness descriptions of the city street-by-street recorded in police notebooks, and the colour coded Maps, Descriptive of London Poverty—Booth’s assessment of the social condition of each London street.

The archive is quite an extraordinary thing, and we’re attempting to make it all available via mobile phone. You will be able to see where you are on the Booth Map (and on a current one), access notebook entries, imagine what it was to be on that street over 100 years ago. I help teach a class on the Socio-Cultural Geographies of London, and we will be working with my students to develop the app and test it out, expanding the boundaries of pedagogy, research, and historical imagination.