Historypin.org is an online archive of historical photos, videos and audio recordings which are pinned by users throughout the globe. It was created by the non-profit organisation Shift with initial support from Google in 2011, as part of a series of commitments to digital inclusion. The idea was initially to create communities, sharing their memories and experiences of people and places that matter to them.
Alongside the website, Historypin runs projects with local communities, to help gather and digitise photos, and build up collections which can then be shared throughout the world. Historypin aims to ‘reconnect generations, reduce social isolation, commemorate anniversaries, raise awareness and change perceptions.’ To date, over 60,000 individuals and community groups, and 2,500 libraries, archives, museums, schools and universities have run thousands of projects, pinning in over 75 countries.
The concept of the website is very similar to Pinterest, in that users create boards, or collections, in which they pin images, videos or audio documents onto. But going further than Pinterest, you are able to pin to location so that users can search a particular country, town, or even street. You can also superimpose images onto the actual location to see the difference over the years!
When searching on HistoryPin you are able to via location or subject. You can enter your description in the search box or you can search via the map on the left hand side. Zooming in allows you to click on collections within your area and you can find who is pinning what all over the world.
You can also search collections – on the collections home page, they are listed by popularity or you can choose most recent collections. Some collections are closed, but there are group collections that you can add to. You can choose to add a pin, or your own collection to certain projects. You can also add other people’s pins to your own collection. It is also easy to comment on others collections, ask questions or contribute your own memories.
It is very easy to sign up – this can be done through Twitter, Facebook, Google or email, and straightforward to create a collection of images. You can create your profile as indepth as you like, with links to your website and location. With regards to users, it is relatively small, and I feel is of use to those who are looking for something in particular, rather than using it as a social media platform. It is great for schools and universities, as well as local communities and project research.
According to the site, the majority of users are older; 27% of users were between 50 and 65 and 25% were over 65. The aim for it to be a big part of digital inclusion and reduce social isolation is being achieved as 38% of users became more involved in community activities and 70% of users had met new people through projects organised by Historypin.
With regards to Historypin becoming a larger social platform remains to be seen, but I can envisage a huge amount of involvement from communities and schools which will help build knowledge and understanding. It contains an enormous amount of fascinating historical information that it would be very easy to lose hours of your time whilst on the site!
Have you used Historypin before? Please get in touch and let us know your experiences!