Friday, October 10, 2014

A Little Experiment in Medieval Beverley

  Many years ago, when computers had numbers that ended in *86 and Windows 3.11 was considered the ultimate improvement, I started messing around with multimedia to see how it could be used to present various aspects of medieval history. I was way, way too early. Everything I did back then is now unusable, and Medieval Writing was the only project to be rescued from the wreckage and developed in newer formats.
  Other projects that were being worked on included a guide to the medieval church, of which the only relics are some extracted text files and a Glossary of the Medieval Church, now on the web in totally primitive form. There was an animated medieval atlas, which rapidly morphed into something that looked like a cross between Dungeons and Dragons and Pacman. Another blockbuster epic was a Toolbook project on the nature of medieval towns and the significance of their surviving forms, based on York, Lincoln and Norwich. Then there was the project that never was, about the changes to town and country at the English Reformation, as seen through the eyes of John Leland and some later travellers.
  I have recently been cleaning up, recataloguing and putting on Flickr my collection of medieval digital photographs, all derived from old slides. Not all brilliant photographs by any means, but all telling interesting stories. So here is the experiment. Take a small medieval town, not so spectacular as York, Lincoln or Norwich, but more manageable. Find all the pictures, put them into a Flickr album arranged in a logical narrative and include commentary by Leland, Daniel Defoe and Celia Fiennes by pretending that they are actually adding comments to the Flickr images. Put them all on the map at high resolution, then see if it works. So here is .... ta da .... Beverley.

  It includes big and spectacular things and things now completely missing.

Hidden things.

  Disregarded things.

Displaced things.

  And things you have to hunt around to find.

  So start with the Flickr album Beverley. Read the general blurb on the main page, then click on the first picture. You have to scroll the page down on each picture to get the commentary, which is annoying. Then just click through the tour. If you go back to the main album page, you can also click on the Map link and it shows you where all the pictures were taken, which should get you here. If you click on the Map link under each individual picture, it shows you everybody else's pictures, but many of them have not been placed so accurately on the map, so that might get a bit confusing.
  I would appreciate any feedback. Is it fun? Is it informative? Is it incomprehensible? Is it so bloody annoying that you feel like hurling your computer out the window? Be honest, but nice about it. Please direct any comment to @HipBookfairy on Twitter, as comments directed at this blog are nearly all ads for internet gambling or fake handbags and I have taken to deleting them by default.
  Might try something similar for some other small medieval places before tackling the biggies. And meanwhile I have to continue the donkey work of cleaning up and cataloguing digital photographs.

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