[ba-unrev-talk] Fwd: [PORT-L] Virtual Harlem
>From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@BESTWEB.NET>
>Subject: [PORT-L] Virtual Harlem
>In thinking about creative interfaces for interactive
>and collaborative work, people have been discussing various
>kinds of computer graphics. But the most compelling graphics
>are not based on menus and icons, but on old fashioned geometry
>and geography. The geo part should be stressed: people most
>naturally relate to spatial relationships on good old planet earth.
>The project called Virtual Harlem has been recreating the Harlem
>of the 1920s, when "African-American literature, art, music, dance,
>and social commentary began to flourish in Harlem.... This
>African-American cultural movement became known as The New Negro
>Movement and later as the Harlem Renaissance."
>What's interesting about the project is the spatial organization,
>which allows students to "walk" through the virtual space, to visit
>significant landmarks, "walk" inside, and most importantly to hear
>the music, "meet" and hear the famous people, and read their
>writings. Following is the web site:
>A similar geographical organization is possible with many other
>subjects, including, for example, the Peirce resources. Imagine
>a virtual tour through the significant places where Peirce had
>lived, visited, and written his manuscripts: his home and classrooms
>at Harvard, the Smithsonian observatory, his travels for the U.S.
>Coast and Geodetic Survey, his time at Johns Hopkins, his home
>at Arisbe, his lectures at Cambridge, and his visits to friends
>and colleagues around the world.
>The Harlem project is recreating a virtual environment, which
>simulates the Harlem of the 1920s, but a great deal can be
>accomplished without all the programming necessary for virtual
>reality. A lot can be done with just pictures, postcards, and
>occasional videos. (Unfortunately, the videos would have to be
>made of the places as they are today, but many of them from his
>time still exist.)
>In web site organized as a tour through space and time, the main
>path would proceed year by year through Peirce's life with copious
>illustrations of the places where he lived and visited and the people
>he met and interacted with (both postively and negatively). Each
>stop on the tour would include links to his writings, letters, and
>lectures of that time and place.
>On a related issue, there's an article on CNN about electronic
>books, which have not been well received. It turns out that
>e-textbooks that are organized as interactive web sites are much
>more successful and popular with students than ones that just
>reproduce a printed text on a computer screen:
>A lesson to be learned is that computer screens cannot compete with
>a printed text for readability, but they are much more useful for
>supporting interactive multimedia combinations. A web site should
>make all the texts available, but people who want to study them
>would probably want to print them out.
>Of course, the same texts should also be cross-indexed and correlated
>by theme, topic, etc. But the geographical tour could be a central
>theme that leads the visitor into the subject.
>John Sowa (01)
XML Topic Maps: Creating and Using Topic Maps for the Web.
Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-74960-2. (02)