Big Heritage, Big Quilts, and Big Canvases


July 17, 2012


Andries Van Dam, Anne Balsamo, and Ethan Watrall


University of Southern California, Brown University, Michigan State University


Donald Brinkman from Microsoft Research chairs this session at Faculty Summit 2012.

Increasingly, being able to visualize large collections of data is absolutely vital in the domain of cultural heritage—both for scholarly work and public consumption. Recent work explores novel and engaging ways to visualize and explore cultural heritage data collections.

In this session, see demos of applications built on Microsoft PixelSense and tablets that demonstrate the advantages of pen and touch computing for enhancing the user experience of specific applications. These range from handwriting mathematics with pen or finger as input, to mathematical solvers, to using multi-touch interaction for exploring large-format artworks in their rich context of related artworks, annotations, and guided tours.

We also explore the technological and social challenges of creating interactive exhibits around the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the largest community-created piece of folk art in the world. These applications are a beachhead on the untouched shores of big humanities research. They are what we can actually expect today and in the near future and are also first steps toward what might define an ideal user interface.