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Special Interest Group Archive: Digitization 05/28/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

Notes from May 28 Digitization SIG / HRVH UG

Notes from 5/28/2020 HRVH UG / Digitization SIG

Historic Red Hook: “Then and Now” Map:

Demo of Google’s My Maps provided by Elisabeth Harmor, Historic Red Hook.
View Demo Recording

  • Was create using Google Maps (“My Maps”)
  • To get started: do a web search for “google maps my maps” or use this link: (or bypass that page and go right here:
  • You can customize certain points on a map and add descriptions and images / video.  
  • Allows you to title your map and add a description. 
  • You can choose what you’d like the map to look like - certain styles such as road, geography, topographical. 
  • There are some benefits to using google maps: it’s something people are familiar with and something that is on most people’s phones. 
  • However, since it is a free platform, there are some quirks to it. 
  • You can add them on the map point by point or by using a spreadsheet and then uploading it. 

Adding Points Manually:

  • To do it manually, find a location and add a point. When you create a point, it automatically pulls up the data from google maps (you can remove this as it usually has modern business info). 
  • You can add files from google drive or from your computer. 
  • You have to upload the images in the order you want them to appear because they can’t be re-ordered. 
  • Historic Red Hook - adding a historic image and then a modern image. You can also add videos. (Eventual hope is to create a driving tour of video.) 
  • After adding the image, you can add a description of your item. You can’t create paragraphs. One workaround is to type up the descriptions in another document and copy and paste them.
  • You can also edit the color & shape of your icons to customize the points. 
  • Once a point has been made, you can manipulate it and move it wherever you want. 
  • You can organize it by numbers. You can also create layers of points so viewers can decide what they want to look at. (For example, a layer of 19th-century images v. 20th century images.) 

Using the Google Spreadsheet:

  • Create Google spreadsheet with information. 
  • Click import.
  • You have to choose which columns correspond to which points on google doc. It will automatically add the information to the sections wanted. 
  • Once they’re uploaded, you can add images and customize similarly. 
  • Caveat: once you have the spreadsheet uploaded, you can’t add more information to the google sheet. You have to make sure you have filled out everything you need.

Once points are created:

  • Make sure you make the map public once it has the points you want. 
  • You can also embed the map directly onto your website. 
  • Users can view the map on the site or directly into google maps. If they’re looking at it on a phone, clicking the map will pull it up in the app on your phone. 
  • You can also add driving instructions between individual points. 


Can you edit within the Google spreadsheet? 

  • Once you’ve uploaded the sheet, you can no longer make changes to the point from within the sheet. You have to do it by going to the point on the map. 

From Google maps, how do I bring up the first menu?

Is there a way to export your data? 

  • The spreadsheet option is a good option if you want to eventually export your data. Makes it easy to be transferred. 

Is it possible to pull in google’s own modern images? 

  • When you’re uploading an image, there will be an option to search google for an image. Adding a modern image makes it easier to see both the historic and current ones at the same time. 

Has anyone used any other mapping tools? 

  • You can use Google Earth to add stories: 
  • Google Earth lets you see a map that’s more 3D. It’s more interactive, more like a story app. You can create something like a presentation. It’s not something you can access on a phone easily. 
  • Story Map : you can embed images, documents in a similar way. It has a timeline and mapping feature. 

Is there a limit to the amount of images you can upload? 

  • 10 is the limit of images you can add per point. 

Can you add a link to HRVH / NYH? 

  • Yes! You can include links, so you could link to the corresponding image on NYH. 

Do you have to download the google earth app?

  • No -- you don’t have to download it. 

Uploading photos: 

  • Don’t use tifs or super high resolution images. Jpeg is ideal. Google will distort images. 

General Discussion:

Living History Event

A few upcoming events from Southeastern: 

Going back to mapping, would it make sense to link historic maps at NYH? 

  • It’s a great idea! Would create another perspective 
  • You can overlay historic maps onto current ones but it’s pretty challenging. 
  • One example of overlays: 
  • This is something you can do in omeka, as well. You can use a historical map as a base layer and then start plotting on it (using Neatline plug-in with georectified map).

Historic Huguenot Street has been releasing exhibits. The first one went live recently. It focuses on Ruth Lynda Deyo:

Haviland-Heidgerd at Elting Memorial: 

How is it going with community engagement? 

  • Using newsletters to introduce exhibits. 
  • Using puzzles of historic images. 
  • Quilt blocks - had names where people had to match them up. 
  • Facebook and instagram have been big pulls. 
  • Virtual scavenger hunts using New York Heritage. People were given prompts and then had to find a photo that would match. 
  • There was a big spike in NYH in May. This was due to a social media campaign to show solidarity to graduates by posting your picture. 
  • Free remote ancestry has been booming. Genealogy is a very fast growing pastime. 

Are people thinking about re-opening? 

  • Have been thinking about re-opening. A lot of people are eager to have buildings open again. However, it has to be safe and strategic between library systems and regions. 
  • Some are planning on curbside delivery soon. Most libraries are opening in phases where staff will be back first and then eventually they will open to the public. 
  • One example - people will call, place an order, and then the items will be delivered outside. 
  • Museum gift shop opening. 
  • It is challenging with historical societies, museums, etc - how can historic architectural elements be cleaned without doing any damage to historic structures. 
  • There are guidelines for historic materials. It is recommended for a gentler solution to clean.  
  • Check out Southeastern’s COVID-19 LibGuide for helpful information and resources

Next meeting: Thursday June 25th @11am Register Here

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065