VIVA: VISUAL INDEX TO THE VIRTUAL ARCHIVE

LAUNCH VIVA

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In 2001, the Museum was awarded an IMLS National Leadership Grant in the Museums On-line category for VIVA History: Visual Index to the Virtual Archives, an innovative visually-based interface that uses a 3-D computer model of Manhattan as a click-on map, allowing Web visitors to view the city, present and past, and to access the Museum’s collections through an on-line, searchable database. The idea of a visual index to the collection recognizes the importance of graphic representation in both the medium of the website and in the way that visitors, virtual or actual, come to understand and comprehend a city through its geography and landmarks. An index to the Museum’s archives based on the image of the city allows web visitors or researchers to explore specific buildings or districts and their histories without, necessarily, coming to the site with a specific topic or question in mind.

People perceive cities geographically, that is, as places shaped by streets, landmarks, districts, etc. Creating an index to the Museum’s archives that is based on the image of the city will allow web visitors to explore specific buildings or districts and their histories without, necessarily, coming to the site with a specific topic or question in mind. Simply seeing the city in the extraordinarily detailed overview of the computer model will spur questions, either about buildings that are familiar–for example, the Empire State or Chrysler Building–or that appear interesting, but are unknown to the viewer. The visual character of the index thus encourages investigation.

VIVA CREDITS
The Institute of Museum and Library Services
The New York State Council on the Arts
3D Manhattan Images: EarthData Solutions LINK
Graphic/Interface design: Mark Watkins, Urban Interface LINK
Graphic Production: Akiko Hattori
Technical Design: Charles Forcey, Historicus, Inc. LINK
Archivist: Sueyoung Park
Assistant Archivist: Mari Nakahara
Database Manager: Max Joel

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