What happened here? Explore the history of Stockholm with your smartphone
Sofia Dahlquist, Stockholmskällan, Sweden
AbstractWhat happened in the streets of Stockholm 50, 100, or 700 years ago? The answer is in your smartphone. At the website Stockholmskällan, you can experience the history of Stockholm and its citizens in words, images and sounds—at your exact location. Stockholmskällan´s geotagged historic material bring the space and time of Stockholm´s past, present, and future together. Every year, over 500,000 people explore a combination of original photographs, maps, letters, police reports, paintings, films, music, and literature. The combination of different types of artifacts clearly shows how Stockholm has evolved, and the many voices of everyday life experiences in past times brings history closer to us. Stockholmskällan is a cooperation between Museums, Archives, Libraries and the Education department in Stockholm. The aim is to enable digitiszed historical primary sources and artifacts to the public in general, and especially to schools, in order to make it easier to use primary sources when teaching history. Stockholmskällan received the Heritage in Motion Award 2017 in the category of "websites and online content." The website was also awarded with the gold medal in the competition The Swedish Design Price 2017.
Keywords: GLAM, education, geotag, primary sorce, local history
What happened on the streets of Stockholm about 50, 100, or 700 years ago? The answer is in your smartphone. Stockholmskällan (https://stockholmskallan.stockholm.se/) is a website that enables you to walk in the footsteps of your predecessors. The website lets you see the traces of history in letters, photos, police reports, maps, films, music, paintings, and literature—all geo-tagged and marked out on present and historical maps.
Stockholmskällan is unique in many ways. It gives you the chance to experience the history of Stockholm and its habitants in words, images and sounds—at your chosen location. While waking the streets of Stockholm, you can trace the city’s history, and receive information directly on your smartphone.
A combination of archive materials
Each year over 500,000 people explore the combination of archive materials. At present, the database has more than 30,000 individual posts. Through Stockholmskällan, these posts become both visible and usable. Stockholmskällan, with its 30,000 historical primary sources, does not claim nor intend to provide a full coverage of Stockholm´s history. However, the documents and pictures in the database add specific details to the greater, general story of the city. The combination of different types of artifacts clearly shows how Stockholm has evolved, and the vast number of voices from everyday life experiences in past times brings history closer to us. Life buzzes out of the archives and into your smartphone!
The aim of Stockholmskällan
Stockholmskällan is a cooperation between the Stockholm City Museum, the Stockholm City Archive, the Stockholm City Library and the City of Stockholm Administration of Education. The aim is to enable digitized historical primary sources and artifacts to the public in general, and especially to schools to make it easier to use primary sources when teaching history. In Stockholmskällan, the history schoolbooks’ general history at macro level meet the historical sources’ micro level stories. Together, the micro and macro perspectives create a more complete picture (Severin & Malm, 2006).
How to use Stockholmskällan
There are different ways for the user to enter Stockholmskällan’s database of historical primary sources. One way is to type a simple search word in the search bar on the landing page. The list of hits present each post in the database with a picture and meta text informing what kind of material it is (photo, text, art work, etc.), providing historical dates and headline descriptions of each material. A click on a post in the hit list leads to a description page where each material is presented.
In the database, each material is tagged with key words, described in the headline, and in most cases there is also a written presentation where the material is put into context. Each post also has a geographical data where coordinates are given, thus making it possible to point out the origin of the material on the city map. On the map view, the function “Close to me” (nära mig) shows historical geo-tagged material within a 200 meter radius from the point of the user’s position. On the map viewer page, you can change the map from the present to a historical map of Stockholm. It is also possible to place two maps parallel to one another, to compare the constitution of the city over time.
Another way of entering the database is via “Themes” (teman). These articles are put together by the editorial staff. Here the primary sources that relate to the same topic are clustered, and have a wider context that is described and explained to the user. Different sources help to complete the story and contribute to the bigger picture. Photos, artwork, drawings, maps, text, sound, and moving picture are complementarily.
Stockholmkällan meets the Swedish curriculum
There is a section also called “Stockholmskällan in school” (Stockholmskällan i skolan), where the editorial staff advise teachers with ways of using the material with their pupils. These pages are divided intp age groups. At the present, we offer about 30 prepared tasks suitable for age four to 19 years old, within the school subjects of history, Swedish, and arts. Each task answers to a set of objectives stipulated by the subject’s curricula.
The selection of material in the database follows the outlines of the national curricula. The actual selection is chosen by staff from their respective institutions. All members of the editorial staff have their professional backgrounds either in teaching, as museum educators, or in computer/technical engineering. The combination of backgrounds and expertise amongst the editorial staff makes it possible to not only serve schools with material for consuming history and historic artifacts, but also to potentially act and interact with it (Starck Lindfors, 2013; 11).
An awarded website
Stockholmskällan recieved the Heritage in Motion Award 2017 in the category “websites and online content,” during the annual conference of the European Museum Academy in Skopje 29th of September 2017. The jury made the following comment: “A thorough collection of data and a best-practice example of cooperation between cultural institutions, initiating a process of actively learning history directly from the primary sources. A good project with solid tech and rich content.” (https://heritageinmotion.eu/pressrelease/winners-heritage-in-motion-2017) The website was further awarded with the gold medal in the competition The Swedish Design Price 2017, where it was called “A new source of old inspiration, and a solid technology that shows how valuable our history can be when the old meets the new one.” (http://www.designpriset.se/vinnare.php?year=2017)
Severin, IW. & Malm, U. (2006). “Stockholmskällan” Blick: Stockholm då och nu, Stockholms stadsmuseiförvaltning (https://stockholmskallan.stockholm.se/PostFiles/SMF/SD/SSMB_0024579_01.pdf).
Starck Lindfors, F. (2013) Stockholmskällans utveckling 2010-2013, Utbildningsförvaltningen, Stockholm (https://stockholmskallan.stockholm.se/ContentFiles/UTB/Om%20Stockholmsk%C3%A4llan/Stockholmsk%C3%A4llans_utveckling_2010_2013_slutgiltig.pdf)
Dahlquist, Sofia. "What happened here? Explore the history of Stockholm with your smartphone." MW18: MW 2018. Published February 7, 2018. Consulted .