The New York Public Library Pioneers Crowd Sourcing and New Uses For Online Maps

Online storytellers looking for guidance into the new digital age can learn a lot at the New York Public Library ("NYPL"). And not just from books. According to a June 20th, 2011 article in The Atlantic the NYPL is pioneering techniques that some adventurous of filmmakers are just beginning to explore.

The NYPL is changing its mission to embrace a new digital age - becoming a "social network with physical and digital nodes." For example, the NYPL has embraced crowdsourcing and GPS-enabled digital maps, asking patrons to contribute old restaurant menus (so that they can be searched to see what people were eating back in the day) and initiating a project where online visitors can assist the NYPL by aligning historical maps ("rectifying" historical maps by finding points of similarity to modern maps).

Crowdsourcing and storytelling through maps and historical documents are not just of interest to librarians. New World filmmakers are also fascinated with these New World tools. (Check out my Plant City Stories website - where mapping and crowdsourcing are key parts of the online filmmaking.)

Thanks to the always insightful Mike Monello for recognizing and sharing (via his twitter feed) the importance to tomorrow's filmmakers and storytellers of the interactivity and mapping functionality pioneered at the NYPL.

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