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June 30, 2014 / carlispina

Highlighting Historical Materials with Google Tour Builder

Google Tour BuilderA few weeks ago I wrote about Google Tour Builder, which allows users to place photos, videos, and text in a global context to build a tour and since then, I have used it to create a companion for an exhibition of historical materials. The Historical & Special Collections Department at the Harvard Law School Library currently has many of its recent acquisitions on display in an exhibit called Spanning the Centuries: An Exhibit of Recent Acquisitions, 1579-1868. The exhibit includes items from many countries including England, France and Germany, making it a great test case for Google Tour Builder.

The final tour I created combines images of the exhibition and the individual items with detailed text that was created for a presentation on the exhibition. Creating the tour was a very straight forward process, though there are definitely features that could be improved, such as adding the ability to reorganize images once they have been uploaded. Another drawback to Google Tour Builder is that the final tours can only be viewed on computers with Google Earth installed. However, despite these limitations, I think this tool can be a great option for libraries and museums interested in sharing their materials in new ways. Our final tour puts the items in the exhibit in their geographic context, which is a fun new perspective. Hopefully it will bring the exhibit to those who might not otherwise have found it.

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