Cossitt Library, Memphis, TN. Located at 33 S. Front Street, the original library building was dedicated on April 12, 1893, demolished in the 1950s and replaced by a modern structure in 1959.

The web efficacy group We Are What We Do recently launched Historypin, a web application that provides a new way for the world to see and share history.

The site allows users to share images from their personal photo albums, as well as the stories behind them. To date, pictures have been provided from various national archives, as well as diverse contributors including the Royal Albert Hall and PhillyHistory.org, a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records.

Developed in partnership with Google, the site finds a unique use for Google Maps and Street View. Pictures can be dated as well as geo-tagged and then ‘pinned’  into place on top of modern Street View photography. The result is a fascinating snapshot of the changing face of local streets and well known landmarks and provides a new perspective on historic moments.

The site has ambitions to become the World’s largest user-generated archive of historic images and stories, providing easy access to digitised history stretching from the invention of the camera to the present.

Nick Stanhope, managing director of We Are What We Do, commented:

“Historypin aims to be the world’s largest communal archive of historical images and stories.

“The unique way users can upload, review, comment on and share images via Historypin creates a fascinating window to the past.”

Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC. Located at H and 15th Streets, NW the hotel was built in 1887 and quickly became a fashionable apartment hotel for members of Congress. In an effort to compete with other hotels the Shoreham was renovated and enlarged in 1902. It was razed in 1929 to make way for an office building.

Historypin has been developed by We Are What We Do as part of their campaign to get people from different generations share more and come together more often. The site aims to start millions of new conversations between old and young, motivating older people to share their history, younger people to share their digital skills.

Kate Hammond, marketing manager at Google, commented:

“This remarkable project helps to bring together the generations to share past experiences and exchange internet skills in a brand new way.

“With this highly original use of the Street View technology we hope that communities up and down the country will be brought a new perspective on local streets, landmarks and historic moments, in a way that benefits both old and young.”

Launched in 2004, We Are What We Do is a not-for-profit social movement which encourages individuals to take small actions that will make a big difference socially and environmentally. WeAreWhatWeDo.org features over 130 simple, positive everyday actions anyone can do and track– reportedly popular actions include #041 Hug someone, #110 Cook a meal from scratch, #025 Use a mug not a plastic cup and, #002 Read a story with a child. Historypin–part of action #132  Share a piece of your history–will launch around the world over the next year.

For more information, visit www.wearewhatwedo.org and www.historypin.com

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