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The Smithsonian's HistoryWired project

By wiredog in MLP
Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 12:37:03 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

The HistoryWired project of the Smithsonian Institution is an experimental online tour of the Museum of American History. It has a cool interface (written in java, more details here) and a system for users to rate the exhibits presented. It's very slow, has lots of pop-ups, and only has about 500 objects online so far. Great idea, though.

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The Smithsonian's HistoryWired project | 13 comments (7 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
My vote (2.50 / 2) (#1)
by ucblockhead on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 12:41:15 PM EST

Sounds cool, but had to vote 0 because the damn thing never loaded, after fifteen minutes.
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
This is old news... (2.50 / 2) (#3)
by greyrat on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 01:08:40 PM EST

...and it needs a lot of work! Still I'll +1 ya' because it's definately MLP
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"Watch out for me nobbystyles, Gromit!"

ick (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by core10k on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 02:03:44 PM EST

Terrible interface; I'm sad that this kind of crap ever escapes from academic research labaratories.

Interface (none / 0) (#6)
by The Larch on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 02:44:26 PM EST

I have to concur. Interesting but not really appropriate.

I've always been impressed by smartmoney.com's very clever use of Java applets to provide interactive and intuitive views on all sorts of market data. However, I'm not at all convinced their Map of the Market metaphor is suited for organizing historical exhibits -- there are too many dimensions (category keywords) to map into a 2d grid, and while being able to quickly highlight exhibits matching various combinations of categorizations, the graphical distribution across the grid doesn't convey convey any useful information, and having to mouseover or zoom in on the display to see the names of the exhibits limits its usefulness as a simple keyword search mechanism. Also, the applet doesn't quite fit into the bounding box on my (unix) browser, I may be missing several of the categories on top of the grid.

The exhibits themselves (ordinary HTML pages) are quite well presented and often provide links to additional information. Allowing your visitors to "rate" the exhibits seems of limited usefulness, except to give the exhibitors a better idea of what the public likes. Too bad the site is so slow just now -- I'd have browsed some more, but two minutes to load a page is too long to wait.

[ Parent ]

Oh FFS (none / 0) (#8)
by spacejack on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 04:18:43 PM EST

Why is it that given the chance to show some interesting historical artifacts, art, or whatever the hell it is, the designers always seem to be hell-bent on showing off their coding skillz instead of the actual material?

Gimme plain HTML and a few server scripts, and I'd kick that overpriced Java team's ass any day of the week. There's nothing on that site I could see that needs any kind of "gee-whiz" interface coding.

no way! (none / 0) (#13)
by pallex on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 11:45:28 AM EST

A website isnt a website unless its got frames, Flash animations, a slow interface to a database, loads of irritating ads which flash and crash, a mouse which changes appearance depending on which part of the screen its over (and preferably with a `ooh thats cute` trail of javascript-managed pictures following the mouse around)...

It reminds me of the Amiga demo scene (probably because its done by the same people) where you needed a scrolly message, sprite-starfield, dodgy soundtracker music (with 4 images which change sort of vaguely in time with the music), a spinning box (for christs sake!) and a nice crash when you try to quit.

[ Parent ]
From the newspaper (none / 0) (#12)
by wiredog on Thu Aug 16, 2001 at 07:40:24 AM EST

The story in the Washington Post

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
The Smithsonian's HistoryWired project | 13 comments (7 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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