How techonology has changed the way we live
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
On June 9th, Britain's National Museums of Science and Industry officially launched not one, but two sites examining the interaction between science and culture. While distinctly different in their approach and target audiences, Ingenious and Making The Modern World both provide engaging examinations of science, invention and technology in a social context.Skip to next paragraph
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The first of these new projects, Ingenious, has been created with contributions from the Science Museum, the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, the National Railway Museum, the Science & Society Picture Library and the Science Museum Library. Operating under the tagline of "Seeing things differently," the site uses text and some 30,000 still images to explore "new perspectives on human ingenuity."
With content divided into four sections (Read, Debate, See, and Create), accessible through navigational Tabs at the top of each page, Ingenious opens with a very active homepage, which also includes two scrolling bars (one with images, another with keywords) - combining to offer visitors three different methods for diving into the site. (Though the scrolls will take you to the same preliminary destinations as the See and Read tabs.)
Read offers illustrated articles of a few hundred words on subjects ranging from the environment and communication, to war and the impact of technology on how we see ourselves, with stories that are accessible through an unusual hierarchical directory.
As an example of the navigation method, visitors might be guided from the Read index page (with its 12 available Subjects), through the "Seeing" subject page (with 5 related Topics), to the "Image Manipulation" topic page, to - in this case - a choice of three articles on the chosen topic ("Images of Ourselves,"Images in Advertising," and "Images as Evidence").
While that explanation may not sound much more entertaining than digging through a Yahoo directory, concise overviews and choice-specific introductions help to draw the visitor from one level to the next. Interim stages and final destinations are also abundantly illustrated, and accompanied by links to related images and reference materials.
In addition, a Discover link opens a pop-up window with access to relevant collections of sidebars, "Unusual Takes" (covering such unconventional subjects as attempts to measure the 'speed of thought'), and "Voices" - quotes from people in the selected field. At any point, surfers can backtrack through a hierarchical 'you are here' listing just below the main navigational tabs.
See is a straightforward catalog of the images available onsite - available through a keyword listing (with category and sub-category pull-downs), or through browsing by Subject. Each image links to a full screen copy, information about the artifact, and for those who wish to register, the option to save individual pictures to a personal gallery.
Debate prompts discussions related to subjects in the Read section. (Examples include, "Do human races exist?" and "Should science be censored?") Finally, Create serves as the home base for See's personal image collections, and allows visitors to generate their own e-cards.