Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Historical Research Tools

Have you heard of Pinterest? I think it's a great tool for historical research. Pinterest is kinda like a bookmarking service for internet pictures. When I find a picture while researching something I click a button I added to my toolbar that says "Pin it". It pulls up all the pictures on the page and asks me which one is the important one to keep. Then in a pop-up I can label the picture with what it is, what time it is, where it is, whatever's important to remember. I can also file it on a pinboard to further categorize things. Right now on my Pinterest account I have the following historical boards:

Bustle Dresses

If you see a picture you like when you're browsing a board you can click on it and it will take you back to the original page so you can get more information. You can also take pictures you like that someone else has pinned and add them to boards of your own, an easy way to share research with other people. My research is extant garments from museums, but you could also pin portraits and artwork or other people's reproductions if you use them for inspiration. You can make a project board, too, and pin all the materials you use so that if someone is interested in where you got that trim they can use your pinboard to find the original site. People can friend accounts, so we can keep track of each others' research and make re-pinning and sharing amongst us easier, and you can comment on pins so that as people are following along they can say things like "this is an example of a day dress, not evening wear" or even "I think you'd look great in this color!" Finally, I'm loving it because it saves hard drive space. You don't have to save all those pictures to your hard drive or upload them to flickr, you just click to add it to your account, so it's easy and accessible to you and the community.

Pinterest works better when more people are networking in it, so I hope some of you consider joining. I know it gives out invites, but mine took less than a week so please don't let that stop you! And if you do join, please let me know so I can add you :D