City of Memory

Hat tip to Tellhistory for their link to the City of Memory site. Constructed by City Lore, a cultural heritage non-profit, the site uses a map of New York City as a base layer over which is laid individual “stories” represented by dot markers. Clicking on a dot brings up a window with more information about that story, often including poems, images, audio, or video. Roughly half the stories were uploaded by the site’s curators, while the other half were uploaded by individual users. Some of the stories are physically linked on the map if they belong to a common theme. For example, there are six dots/stories in the Chinatown area, and each one brings up a different aspect of the area, narrated on video by a guide.

The entire site is very well-done. The design is crisp and professional, and the random sampling of stories I clicked on worked seamlessly. I also liked the separate tab within each story to see the site overlaid onto a more detailed Yahoo map. The very Web 2.0 feature of allowing useres to contribute stories follows the same vein of other projects such as CHNM’s September 11 Digital Archives project, and I think is a phenomenal development for public history. Finally, the idea of using a map as a base layer for the project seems to work well, as it serves to geographically place these memories in a way that makes them more accessible.