A Session at the 59th Annual SAH Meeting,
Tools for Architectural Historians VII: Cities
in Time on the Web
Over the past decade, several projects that bring together
historical maps, building images, and period documents have appeared
on the web, offering remarkably rich new resources for architectural
These website projects have assembled often-converging materials
in different media and from different repositories -- photographs,
detailed atlas plates, prints, architectural drawings, tax records,
directory listings, census records, building permits, and a range
of other historical sources -- and provided new means of accessing
them. A key example, the Virtual Historic Savannah Project [http://vsav.scad.edu/], focuses
on the city where we will meet, and there are now an undetermined
number of similarly conceived projects on-line or in the works,
representing a range of cities, perhaps more of them than any
of us know.
In this seventh "Tools for Architectural Historians"
session, we will explore such projects, the approaches they take,
the assets they bring within reach, and the prospects these offer.
We will provide a forum for brief descriptions of several projects,
and convene an open conversation regarding their content, goals,
intended audiences, mechanisms, and future.
We invite SAH members to direct the organizers, the Electronic
Media Committee, toward websites that seem to be conceived along
these lines and that they would recommend for inclusion in the
discussion, welcoming some brief comments about each, emailed
to email@example.com. We will collect
these as the subject of our session, and will invite some of
these projects' organizers to attend and join in a probing discussion
of this type of resource.
Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 1:00-5:00 pm, Jen Library, Savannah
College of Art and design. Free.
Some websites discussed (partly as intended, partly "as
EXPLORE in teams and REPORT to group:
- Architecture of Dublin
part of Archiseek.com, with many images, links to other Irish
- Providence Architecture
a website integrating maps, images, and writeups on Providence
built by students in a class at Brown U.
- Project VIVA [Manhattan]
a 3-D map-based interface that gives access to The Skyscraper
collection of historic postcards of NYC.
The Skyscraper Museum <http://www.skyscraper.org/>
- Hypermedia Berlin
a research and curriculum-development website that is multi-institutional
The site features a large number of linked historical maps, overlays,
and other information on architecture and urban development.
Hypermedia Berlin has been
developing continuously for more than two years, and already
capitalizes on software such
as Flash and Zoomify to feature a large number of intriguing,
and research uses.
DISCUSSION: What content was there? Intended users,
benefits? Interface? Desiderata?
PRESENTATION, discussion, of some sites presenting primary
- The Building Permits Database, 1900-1986 [Manhattan]
all the new building (NB) applications filed in Manhattan for
each year, from 1900 to 1986,
and turned it into a database searchable by a number of variables,
like address, architect, owner
and type of building.
- Philadelphia Contributionship Archives
cancelled fire insurance surveys from the 18th though 20th c.
- The Interactive Nolli Web Site
presents the 1748 Nolli map of Rome as a dynamic, interactive,
The public now has access to cataloged information about the
map in both written
and graphical form. Also a venue for interpretive articles.
- David Rumsey Maps
a remarkably rich, searchable collection of zoomable historic
- Texas Bird's-Eye Views
a Web site dedicated to the study and appreciation of the Texas
city views in the Amon Carter
Museum's collection, along with a number of additional Texas
views from private lenders
and outside institutions .
- COLLAGE: Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall
a searchable collection of historic London images
- NYPL Digital Gallery
over 450,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed
in the collections of The New York Public Library.
- Greater Philadelphia GeoHistory Network
a web-based repository of geographically organized historical
about Philadelphia, its geography, its buildings, and its people.
- Places in Time in Greater Philadelphia
a collection of a range of historic document times for the Philadelphia
organized mainly by collection.
PRESENTATION, discussion, of some sites more
fully integrating such historic maps, images, docs:
- Historic Pittsburgh
a comprehensive collection of local resources that supports
personal and scholarly research of the area.
- The Chicago Imagebase
a Web-based project aimed at enhancing knowledge about the built
of the Chicago region. On this site you will find a wide variety
of images and other
data along with information on how to use this data to study
- Virtual Historic Savannah Project
documents the evolution of urban form by combining architectural
social history research with 3D computer and database technology.
- Philadelphia Architects and Buildings
provides authoritative information on three centuries of Philadelphia
and designers. PAB incorporates data and images from the collections
than 25 Philadelphia-area repositories.
DISCUSSION of awareness, vetted lists, persistence
saht7.html; last rev. = 2 May 06 [return to SAH