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Since the advent of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, mobile technology has changed drastically. Natural User Interfaces, like the iPhone’s multi-touch technology, are everywhere—in the subway, our doctors’ offices, in airport terminals, and museum exhibits. Additionally, mobile technology is now seamlessly integrated into our daily lives. We use smartphone applications to choose a restaurant, take photos, read books, check movie times, find our cars, check blood sugar levels, and so much more. New applications on multiple platforms (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry) are released daily; some, like Angrybirds, become cultural phenomena, and some decay on little-visited pages in the App Store.

Just last week, on October 27, 2011, 1000 Memories released a new mobile application for the Apple iPhone, Shoebox by 1000 Memories. Similar to Historypin but without the context of a map, 1000 Memories is a online social platform for uploading, organizing, and sharing photographs, both historical and personal. And because memories come in so many shapes and sizes, 1000 Memories now also supports content in the form of audio, video, stories, documents, and quotes. 1000 Memories provides users with a tool to add dates, tags, and captions to digitized photos. 1000 Memories aims to permanently preserve digital photographs—they work with the non-profit Internet Archive and with high-performance data servers to ensure that uploaded content is never lost. Click here to learn more about this process. And with their easy to use data-export feature, users are able to download their content an unlimited number of times.

1000 Memories, the Social Network:

As a social network, 1000 Memories has become very popular. So far, they have partnered with the CBC Late Show, the Internet Archive, Livestrong, and the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.  However, 1000 Memories is most popular among general users. With the ability to upload an unlimited amount of content and several innovative features, 1000 Memories is accessible for every user—the grandchild digitizing Grandma’s 35 mm slides (a project I’ve undertaken several times), the parent archiving the child’s milestones, or the historian organizing a photographic archive.

Features:

Shoebox: On 1000 Memories, the “Shoebox” refers to the content a user has uploaded. Because so many people keep old photographs in shoeboxes, this is a very appropriate use of the term.  Users can elect to allow friends and family members to also add to their shoeboxes, creating a shared online memory quilt.

Family Tree: Another innovative feature of 1000 Memories is Family Tree. Family Tree allows users to map their family heritage with digital photographs, documents, video, audio, etc. However, it also connects family members and their shoeboxes in one integrated location, creating a shared, visual dialogue of memories. As Historypin showcases photographs, video, and audio in the context of a geographical location, 1000 Memories showcases content within the context of connections, with both family and friends.

Click here for a sample Family Tree of Tolkien’s beloved hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. And click here for Ernest Hemingway’s Family Tree.

Shoebox, by 1000 Memories:

While 1000 Memories as a social network is a valuable tool, one of the most exciting features created by 1000 Memories is Shoebox by 1000 Memories, the smartphone application. While the app is at present only available on the iPhone, mobile developers are currently working on a version for Android. Shoebox integrates the iPhone’s camera feature as a convenient mobile scanner. Traditionally, scanning photos has been an arduous and expensive process—purchasing equipment, manually scanning hundreds or more photographs, and editing damaged and discolored photos. But with Shoebox, users can simply take a picture of an old photograph or document and upload it to their 1000 Memories profiles all through the iPhone application. And with 1000 Memories’ incorporation of Grizzly Labs edge detection and perspective-correction technology, users’ photos and documents are expertly scanned.

Shoebox, by 1000 Memories and Greenwich Village:

While Shoebox is not a practical tool for cultural institutions like Historypin is, 1000 Memories and the Shoebox mobile application is extremely useful for everyday users, especially users on a budget, because the mobile application and 1000 Memories registration is free. Find the iPhone application in the App Store. Unlike most scanning and photo editing software available, Shoebox by 1000 Memories has an extremely intuitive user interface, making digitizing photos and documents a snap for a user with any level of experience. Citizens of Greenwich Village can share their history with friends and family—tagging, comments, and interpreting their history and the history of the community. And because 1000 Memories is currently beta testing a GEDCOM file importer, users will soon be able to import files generated from Ancestry.com, Geni.com, and other genealogy websites and software.

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