I coordinate the Public History program at Eastern Washington University and am Assistant Digital Archivist at the Washington State Digital Archives.
Right not one of my big questions is how to present local history on the web in a way that is collaborative, open to the community, has a low technical barrier, and takes advantage of mobile computing.
Example 1: I want to teach a course on the history of one-room schoolhouses. I want my student to gather oral histories, collect documents and photographs, survey the current condition of the sites, and create little web projects for each school. How do we present that information to the public?
Example 2: I would like my students to create podcast tours (with audio and images) of historic sites in the region. I want people taking a stroll at, let’s say, Spokane House to be able to pull out there smart phones and have the phone say “I see you are at Spokane House. EWU has created a historic tour of the site with 7 stops. Would you like to see a map of the stops? Would you like to do the tour?” What technology platform do we use? I want to create a database of such podcasts that can grow over the years and that will be accessible to any smart phone–I don’t want to create an iPhone app.
In so far as possible I want to use open-source or at least free technologies (think Flickr, Google Maps, etc.), and harness crowdsourcing and user feedback to prevent any bottlenecks in the content review and delivery.