Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 - 4:02 PM

Information and Library Science Professors Design Mobile Website to Explore NYC’s German Culture

Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science (SILS) Professors Anthony Cocciolo and Debbie Rabina, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut New York, have designed "German Traces NYC," an ongoing project that brings places of German cultural heritage in New York City from 1840-1945 to life through a mobile website that blends cultural heritage information with GPS mapping technology to create augmented reality walking tours. The project will be celebrated with a launch event from 6-9 PM on Friday, December 2 at Goethe-Institut at 72 Spring Street, 11th Floor, between Crosby and Lafayette Streets in Manhattan.

Cocciolo and Rabina were awarded $56,000 for research and development of the project, which they have been testing with SILS students. The two professors designed "German Traces NYC" to be a learning experience that uses historical photographs and multimedia narratives to reveal the history of the city's German immigrants.

Users who use the mobile website can visit a neighborhood--Yorkville, for instance--and find all the nearby sites that are part of the city's German history. Then, standing in front of a building or a memorial, the user can read about the site, watch a video, or listen to a podcast. Certain areas, such as Yorkville on the Upper East Side, had huge populations of German immigrants in the early 20th century, so a user can visit several sites at one time.

"German Traces NYC" is the first application of the GeoStoryteller platform, which is an open-source software that combines elements of internet pages, mobile websites, podcasts, and augmented reality. Cocciolo and Rabina created the tour using Geostoryteller, which Cocciolo developed, as well as Layar, another open-source software that creates augmented realities--for instance, showing an archival photo layered over a current one.

The December 2 launch event is free and open to the public, with RSVP to burney@newyork.goethe.org. Members of the press who are interested in attending may email Amy Aronoff at press@pratt.edu. Credentials will be required upon arrival.

To preview the site, please visit www.germantracesnyc.org.

The Goethe-Institut, the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, promotes knowledge of the German language and culture abroad. The Institut conveys a comprehensive picture of Germany by providing information on Germany's cultural, social, and political life. The Goethe-Institut New York organizes and supports a broad spectrum of cultural events that present German culture and promote international cultural exchange.

Pratt's School of Information and Library Science, the only American Library Association-accredited graduate school of information and library science based in Manhattan, builds upon Pratt's reputation as a world-renowned college of art, design, and architecture and fosters creativity and innovation for the digital world. The school, which is located at 144 West 14th Street, is lead by Dean Tula Giannini.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Amy Aronoff at 718-636-3554 and aarono29@pratt.edu

ON-SITE MEDIA CONTACT:
Jill Goldstein, Assistant for Marketing "German Traces NYC" at 917-750-3502 or germantraces@newyork.goethe.org