I was between jobs, so I volunteered to help the Prelinger Library with any lengthy projects they’d back-burnered for lack of time. They asked me to “photograph the stacks” — but in the process, I realized that I could build a web interface around the photos.
The Prelingers’ requests for the interface stemmed from the ethos of the library itself: They don’t keep a catalog, and wanted to emphasize a shelf-browsing rather than a query-based flow (ie: serendipitous research). Lastly, they asked if I could connect the site to the scanned material in their archive.org page.
The end result was the Stacks Explorer: http://prelingerlibrary.org/stacks
My talk will focus on the thinking/questions which resulted in this project’s odd technical setup, and include some guideposts for others who want to build similar large-scale DIY photo interfaces.