The rapid proliferation of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers featuring GPS, high-resolution cameras, compasses, and long battery life provides an opportunity for the development of applications to serve the preservation community. NCPTT has continued investing in mobile information technology projects with the goal of developing a suite of simple mobile apps to help preservation professionals collect and analyze data on the go. While current projects focus on Apple’s iOS platform, NCPTT plans to port apps to the Android platform in the future.
The Northwestern State University College of Business and the National Center have partnered on a grant application to develop a year-long course in mobile application development. If the grant is successful, NCPTT will assist with curriculum design and the setup of a mobile laboratory. The National Center will fund internships available to students who successfully complete the course to help develop preservation applications.
The National Institute for Conservation and NCPTT partnered to develop an iPhone and iPod Touch app modeled after the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel. The original project provides a guide to salvaging collections damaged in disasters. The app version, named Emergency Response and Salvage (ERS), keeps the information at the fingertips of collections managers and the general public. Submission to the Apple App Store is underway and after approval, ERS will be available for download by the end of 2011.
NCPTT has been developing an app titled Landscapes, which allows people to inventory and record the condition of historic trees, vegetation, and other features in an historic landscape. Data on the health of tree components, GPS locations of features such as grave markers, photographs, field notes and other features will equip landscape professionals with a unique and useful management tool. After testing, the original version of this app was determined to be too complex. A thorough redesign has made using app much easier and the ability to synchronize data has been added. The app will be finished by the end of the calendar year.
NCPTT and the NPS Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC) have been collaborating on an iPad app for rapid condition assessment of archeological sites. This project is based in part on archeological site vulnerability assessment work previously conducted with the Louisiana Army National Guard and on current paper-based surveys in use at SEAC. This app is currently in the early design stages and will be further developed in 2012.
In FY2011, the NCPTT web site received over 735,000 visits by over 127,000 unique visitors who viewed over 4.75 million pages, and have downloaded thousands of PDF publications and videos. Since it began podcasting in 2008, the National Center has published thirty- four episodes of the Preservation Technology Podcast series, exploring various topics with leaders in preservation technology. These podcasts have been downloaded over 18,000 times in the past year alone. NCPTT continues to engage its audience via social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. The National Center has a following of over 1,900 people on Facebook and its posts have been viewed over 177,000 times in 2011.
NCPTT’s website utilizes the open source content management system, WordPress, to publish its vast array of articles, pages, photos, products and other files. The system makes use of themes which can change the look and feel of the site, and in 2011 a new theme was developed to closely follow the look of NPS.gov and introduce additional features. NCPTT staff are reclassifying website content along thematic lines to make information easier to find. The new site will be launched in early FY2012.
The National Center is committed to sharing its technical expertise not just with preservation professionals and the general public, but also with other units of the National Park Service. NCPTT is using its knowledge of WordPress to help the NPS Facility Maintenance and Cultural Resources Career Academies develop a web presence that will foster a community where workers can share professional resources and less-experienced employees can develop mentoring relationships. To help with these projects, the National Center is adding a web development assistant to its staff and capitalizing on its partnership with Northwestern State University, which brings to the table a wealth of experience in electronic delivery of education.
In addition to the robust resources available electronically through NCPTT’s website, the National Center offers many of its publications and products in hard copy. In 2011, 579 requests for these materials were received and filled.
|Five Most Downloaded Products|
|Historic American Timber Joinery – A graphic guide (2004-08) PDF||2,056|
|Rapid Building Site Assessment PDF||2,030|
|Cemetery Monument Conservation Cleaning Booklet (English) PDF||1,047|
|Testing the Energy Performance of Wood Windows in Cold Climates — A Report to The State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Agency of Commerce and Community Development (1996-08) PDF||822|
|Podcast 29: Aaron Lubeck on how we are (and are not) adaptively reusing whole cities MP3||861|
|Five Most Ordered Products|
|Cleaning a Stone Grave Marker (2007-01)||442|
|Resetting a Stone Grave Marker (2007-02)||441|
|Basic Iron Fence Care (2007-03)||431|
|Resetting a Stone Grave Marker, Volume 2: Lifting and Hoisting (2010-01)||342|
|Application and Preparation of Limewash (2008-07)||305|
Fulfilling NCPTT’s legislated mission as a clearing house for information pertaining to preservation technology necessitates the active collection and curation of the latest books and journals published by the field. Our library database currently contains 1,213 items and, over the last year, fifty-one new books have been added. (For library additions in FY2011, see APPENDIX C.)
Providing NCPTT’s staff with current computer technologies facilitates the National Center’s mission. In times of tighter budgets and increased security threats, the Information Technology staff are hard at work updating in-office systems to make them as secure and efficient as possible.
In FY2011, the IT staff made specific efforts to develop a continuation of operations plan in case of a catastrophic event. Like most organizations, the data and software applications stored on NCPTT’s servers, website and individual workstations are critical to the National Center’s operations. Should a catastrophic event affect the infrastructure of Lee H. Nelson Hall, it is paramount that the data, software and website be preserved and kept operational. A continuation of operations plan has been written and is being implemented, utilizing scheduled backups and offsite storage.
The IT staff continues its partnership with the Louisiana School for Math, Science & Art, donating surplus equipment to the school for educational purposes. This saves the National Center money by avoiding disposal costs for outdated equipment.
The National Park Service is a geographically dispersed organization. As a program of the Park Service, NCPTT provides its employees with access to the national organization’s training courses through the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Network. TELNPS is a highly interactive training network which allows students immediate access to their instructor. During FY2011, six courses were taken at NCPTT with thirty-six participants, including staff from the Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Cane River National Heritage Area.