This is an amazing website. For anyone interested in history, technology, photograhpy and time travel culture it provides a great database of pictures, clips and stories. Ideal for a rainy weekend day. Some highlights: photograph of a time traveler, the voice of Pope Leo XIII (born 200 years ago), one family 30 years and Hakan Nordkvist. The creator of the site is Chris Wild, a former museum curator. He is currently developing a new website, the Retroscope, which will go online in 2011. Here’s a report by the BBC about a TED talk Wild held on the Retroscope:
The 40-year-old ex-museum curator and entrepreneur describes himself as a retronaut – someone who goes back in time “using just his perception”.
He is building a website – known as the Retroscope – made up of millions of pieces of content including videos, pictures, music and text from public and private archives.
“The website is a portal into time and space,” he told BBC News at the TED Global (Technology Entertainment and Design) conference in Oxford.
“I have always wanted to go back in time and I was constrained by the practical difficulties of doing that.
His “time machine” is, at its simplest level, a website powered by a massive database.
Users can search for objects, places or people and use that as their entry point into history, he said.
Results can be displayed in various ways, such as on a map or as a collage of pictures and videos.
These collages are arranged in concentric rings with more relevant results at the centre. A time line stretches into the screen allowing people to go back in time, like flicking through pages in a Rolodex.
“It is hard to describe without seeing it,” said Mr Wild.
The mass of connected data allows people to choose their own “entry point” into history.
“I was talking to someone about Captain Beefheart and that was his entry point,” he said.
That search could bring up music, videos or pictures that linked to geographical locations associated with the singer.
Similarly, searching for the Dakota Building in New York, brings up a series of juxtaposed historical photographs that stretch back to 1890, just a few years after it was built.