Frequently asked questions

General

What is Historypin?

Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history.

Everyone has history to share: whether its sitting in yellowed albums in the attic, collected in piles of crackly tapes, conserved in the 1000s of archives all over the world or passed down in memories and old stories.

Each of these pieces of history finds a home on Historypin, where everyone has the chance to see it, add to it, learn from it, debate it and use it to build up a more complete understanding of the world.

Why was Historypin created?

Historypin was created to help people to come together from across different generations, cultures and places, around the history of their families and neighbourhoods, improving personal relations and building stronger communities.

What are Historypin's long-term aims?

Here's a few:

  • To get as many people as possible taking part in the history of their family, streets, country and world.
  • To bring neighbourhoods together around local history and help people feel closer to the place they live in.
  • To get people from different generations talking more, sharing more and coming together more often.
  • To conserve and open up global archives for everyone to enjoy, learn from and improve.
  • To create a study resource for schools and universities.
  • To be the largest global archive of human history.

Who is behind Historypin?

Historypin was created by We Are What We Do, a not-for-profit company that creates ways for millions of people to do more small, good things, helping address social and environmental issues.

We are based in London with offices in San Francisco and part of our team in Bulgaria.

To see some of our other creations, go to wearewhatwedo.org

What has happened during the beta-phase of Historypin?

Historypin.com was beta-launched in June 2010, which gave us a year to test and improve the project before the global launch in July 2011. In the beta-phase we tested a basic Historypin.com site and developed a full version of the site and app. We piloted our local projects, principally in Reading, UK but also through a series of other test activities in schools and neighborhoods all over the UK. We also partnered with over 100 libraries, archives and museums, adding their content to Historypin. We picked up some nice media coverage and won a Webby Award for the best Charitable Organization/Not-for-profit website.

Managing your Account

How do I connect my Twitter Account with my existing Historypin Profile?

  1. Login with your Google or Facebook account details
  2. Click the “Authentication” tab
  3. Under Twitter, click “connect”
  4. You will be taken to Twitter.com and asked if you are happy for Historypin to access your Twitter account. Click “Authorize app”
  5. You will be re-directed to your Historypin Profile and see that your Twitter Account is “connected”

You can log into your Historypin Profile using the account details for any account which is connected.

How do I connect my Facebook Account with my existing Historypin Profile?

  1. Login with your Google or Twitter account details
  2. Click the “Authentication” tab
  3. Under Facebook, click “connect”
  4. You will be taken to Facebook.com and asked to login to your Facebook account. Login.
  5. You will be re-directed to your Historypin Profile and see that your Facebook Account is “connected”

You can log into your Historypin Profile using the account details for any account which is connected.

How do I connect my Google Account with my existing Historypin Profile?

  1. Login with your Facebook or Twitter account details
  2. Click the “Authentication” tab
  3. Under Google, click “connect”
  4. You will be taken to Facebook.com and asked to login to your Facebook account. Login.
  5. You will be re-directed to your Historypin Profile and see that your Facebook Account is “connected”

You can log into your Historypin Profile using the account details for any account which is connected.

How do I disconnect my Google / Facebook / Twitter account from my Historypin Profile?

  1. Login with your usual account details
  2. Click the “Authentication” tab
  3. Under Google / Facebook / Twitter, click “disconnect”
  4. You will see the status change from “connected” to “disconnected”

Please note: You must have at least one account - Google, Facebook or Twitter - connected to your Historypin Profile. If you wish to delete your Historypin Profile, please email historypin@wearewhatwedo.org

I am having problems connecting my Google / Facebook / Twitter Account to my Historypin Profile.

Please email the Historypin team historypin@wearewhatwedo.org with a link to your Historypin Profile and an explanation of your problem.

Can I have one Facebook, Twitter or Google Account connected to more than one Historypin Profile?

No. You can only connect a Facebook, Twitter or Google Account to one Historypin Profile.

Can I have one Historypin Profile connected to multiple Facebook or Google or Twitter accounts?

No. You can connect a single Historypin Profile to a maximum of one Google, one Facebook and one Twitter account?

Can I change the Google Account associated with my Historypin Profile?

Yes. Please email the Historypin team historypin@wearewhatwedo.org and provide:

  • A link to your Historypin Profile
  • Your current Gmail address
  • The Gmail address you wish to use

Can I delete my Historypin Profile?

This needs to be done by Historypin. Please email the Historypin Team historypin@wearewhatwedo.org with a link to your Profile.

Using the site

What kind of content can I add to Historypin?

Currently, Historypin is made up of photographic images, videos, audio clips and descriptive and narrative text.

Photographic images can be pinned directly to the Historypin map by users. These images can be of any location - outdoors or indoors - at any time in the past.

Some of these images, if they are taken outdoors, at street level and at certain angles, will be able to be layered onto Street View (this is a bonus, not a requirement).

Audio and video content can be pinned to the map by users. These should be pinned to the location and date where they were recorded.


Any kind of descriptive or narrative text can be added to images, audio or video.

How do I pin photographic images?

  1. Digitise the images – if your images are currently in print form, they need to be made into a digital file. This is ideally done with a scanner, but can also be done by taking a digital photo of the print.
  2. Collect information – the more details you can find the better, including the date, location, factual description and any stories about it.
  3. Upload it – by going to Pin, in the top navigation. There you can upload your images, which makes a copy of the digital files and saves it securely on the Historypin database.
  4. Pin it – you will be taken through series of steps to pin the image on the map, adding the information you have collected. If the image is of an external, street level scene, you will be invited to layer it onto Street View to create a comparison with the same scene today

For tips, see our How To page

If you have any problems, you can please get in touch with rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org.

How do I pin video content?

1. Upload your video clip to YouTube

2. Make sure your video is listed as public

3. Click the "share" button under the video on YouTube. Check the "long link" box and copy the link.

4. Click ‘Pin’ and select ‘Video’ and drop in the link

How do I pin audio content?

1. Upload your audio clip to YouTube

2. Make sure your YouTube video is listed as public

3. Click the "share" button under the video on YouTube. Check the "long link" box and copy the link.

4. Click ‘Pin’ and select ‘Audio’ and drop in the link

How do I add stories and recollections?

Anyone can add descriptive or narrative text to photographic, audio or video content that has been "pinned" to the map.

This can be added during the process of pinning your own content or, if you find content on the map that you would like to add text to, click Add Your Voice.

Please note you have to be signed in to add a story.

How do I edit a piece of content that I have pinned?

Once you have pinned a piece of content to Historypin, you can edit everything about it - the title, date, location, Street View overlay and story. To edit a piece of content:

  1. Log into your Profile
  2. On List View, hover on a photo
  3. Click 'Edit'
  4. When you have finished editing your content, click 'Save Changes'

How do I delete a piece of content that I have pinned?

Once you have pinned a piece of content to Historypin, you can edit everything about it - the title, date, location, Street View overlay and story. To edit a piece of content:

  1. Log into your Profile
  2. On List View, hover on a photo
  3. Click 'Delete'

Why can't I pin stories to the map on their own?

We only "pin" things that have a specific date and location as this makes things easy to find and more useful for users. Primary sources, such as photographs, videos and audio recordings are measurable in their date and location (even if they are not currently known and need to be debated, tested and improved), whereas stories and recollections, however much they enrich our understanding, are not necessarily "pinnable" to a specific point in time and space.

What about other types of materials, like letters, diaries or records?

Currently, these materials cannot be added to Historypin but we recognise their value and are testing different ways of including them.

How can I pin very large amounts of content?

You can use our Bulk Uploader. For more information see our Bulk Uploader page.

If there is content already there, can I pin more on that spot?

Absolutely. There is no limit to the amount of content that can be pinned on one location or on one date.

Can content still be pinned if I don't know the date?

Yes it can. We'll ask you to make an estimate to within 30 years.

Can I link content I've pinned to more info on my website or blog?

Yes, you can add links in the Additional Infobox or within the story text you attach to content.

How do I find the content I've uploaded when I come back to the site?

When you are logged-in to Historypin, you can find content you have pinned under My Profile in the navigation bar at the top right hand side of the site.

Note, only content pinned to a place and date will appear on the main map. Unpinned content will still show up on your Profile though.

Why does your time filter only go back to 1840?

The earliest photographic imagery goes back to this date, so this is our current setting.

If, in future, other, earlier types of materials can be pinned to the map, we will widen the timeline to reflect this.

What is Street View and why doesn't it exist all over the world?

Street View lets you explore places around the world through 360-degree street-level imagery. You can see where in the world it exists here. Google is in the process of Street Viewing other areas and Historypin will update as this information becomes available.

What are Tours?

Tours lead you step-by-step through a series of pieces of content via a narrative that links them together, giving users a rich journey through a place, era, theme, event or personal story.

Tours can be created by any user and they can include their own content and other users' content.

What are Collections?

Collections are clusters of content around a particular topic or theme or event.

Collections can be created by any user and they can include their own content and other users' content.

I've found content that is inaccurately pinned, what should I do?

Click on "Dispute" underneath the content and send your suggestion to the Historypin Team, which will update the metadata attached to the content.

I've found inappropriate content, what should I do?

Click on "Report" underneath the image and send your issue to the Historypin Team, which will respond to you and moderate the content.

The Historypin Team will remove the content if it is considered overtly offensive or does not make a constructive contribution to the project. This will be an objective decision, not subject to opinions of certain historical events or materials.

I've found content that infringes my copyright, what should I do?

Click on "Report" underneath the image and send your copyright to the Historypin Team, which will respond to you and moderate the content.

How are you moderating what goes on the site?

Content is moderated in two ways:

  1. The Historypin Team will remove content that they consider to be inappropriate or offensive, which they discover or which is flagged by a user
  2. The Historypin Team will make improvements to the content metadata (including moving or removing things inaccurately positioned on Street View), either through their own identification, research and consultation or through flags and suggestions by user

Historypin is not functioning or displaying as I would expect, what should I do?

Try using a different browser. Historypin works best in Firefox or Chrome. Also make sure that you have the latest version downloaded.

If you are using Internet Explorer, Historypin requires at least Internet Explorer 8.

I am having trouble uploading photos, what should I do?

Try clearing your cache.


Internet Explorer: Tools > Delete Browsing History > Select Temporary Internet Files

Firefox: Tools > Clear recent history > Clear cache

Chrome (PC): Click on the spanner > Tools > Clear browsing data

Chrome (Mac): Chrome > Clear browsing data

How do I change my Username?

Login to your account. In ‘Profile and Account Settings’ click ‘Profile Info’. Here you can edit your Profile Name.

Bulk Uploader

How can I find out more about doing a bulk upload?

Visit this page to find out more about how to do a bulk upload:

Do I have to pay to use the bulk uploader?

No, it is free to use the bulk uploader.

Is there a limited number of bulk uploads that I can do?

No, you can do as many uploads as you wish.

Is there a limit to how many images I can upload in a single bulk upload?

No. However, the number of images and the size of each one; your computer's power and your internet connection will affect how long it takes to upload the images.

Can I edit my data once I have completed a bulk upload?

Yes. You can edit all the information for each photos. However, edits have to be made to each photo individually - there is not yet functionality to make global changes, or to edit the same data field for several photos.

Can I make multiple edits to my content?

No, once your content is uploaded you can only edit each photo individually. However, once you have uploaded your photos and CSV to the Bulk Uploader, you do have the opportunity to edit all the fields for all the images before you upload them to your Profile.

Can I make global changes to the data attached to my photos?

No, once your content is uploaded you can only edit each image separately.

Can I delete a bulk upload?

Yes, you can delete a whole bulk upload. But all the images that were uploaded in that batch will be deleted - you cannot make a selection within a batch to delete. If you wish to delete whole bulk upload, please email rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org

Do I need to complete all the fields for my bulk upload to work?

The minimum data you need is a filename and a title for each photo. However, to appear on the map images must also have a date and latitude & longitude co-ordinates.

If you do not provide latitude and longitude co-ordinates for your images, they will be uploaded to your Profile with all the corresponding meta-data. However, they will appear as unpinned content and will not be visible on the map. You add them to the map by editing each individual image and pinning to the map by searching for their location.

Why haven't the fields on my bulk upload populated with meta-data?

Check that the record is not missing from your CSV and that the filename exactly matches that in the CSV. Check that your data is correctly formatted. If you are still having problems email rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org

Why am I getting 'Bad Request'?

Your browser may have timed out. Try uploading fewer images in one go. If you are still having problems email rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org

Why am I getting 'Internal server error'?

First try re-uploading the image. If it fails again, check that your data is format matches that in the CSV template instructions. If you are still having problems email rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org

I used the Bulk Uploader, but the content on my Profile is 'unpinned'

To appear as 'pinned' images on the map, images must also have a date and latitude & longitude co-ordinates. Add these pieces of data to your images to pin them to the map. If you have entered this data, check that the formatting matches the format listed in the CSV template instructions.

Getting involved

How can I get more involved personally?

We are always looking for people and organisations to get more involved with the project and making commitments to work together and support us.

Have a look our Community section to find some opportunities and examples of how people are getting involved.

Or get in touch with our Content Manager, Rebekkah Abraham, at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org to talk about the options.

Can I volunteer with Historypin?

At the moment, we offer London-based internship opportunities and a small number of other structured opportunities.

To apply for an internship, contact our Content Manager, Rebekkah Abraham, at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org

How can I get my local school more involved?

Have a look at our Schools section where you will find ideas about how to use Historypin, downloadable resources & activities and some of the best content to explore.

We also have some examples of what Historypin activities have been going on in schools.

For more information get in touch with our Content Manager, Rebekkah Abraham, at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org to talk about how we can support your aims and plans.

How can I use Historypin in my local area?

In lots of interesting ways and we'll do everything we can to support you.

We have a full section for local Historypin projects, so have a look at the examples of current projects.

Or get in touch with our Content Manager, Rebekkah Abraham, at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org to talk about how we can support your aims and plans.

Do you give talks or run events?

We give talks about Historypin whenever we can, mainly around the UK and California, where our Historypin team are based. Please get in touch at historypin@wearewhatwedo.org if you would like one of the team to talk at your event.

We will also be running a series of workshops and seminars over in the UK and US, which we will announce in our blog.

Do you offer any training?

Yes. Please get in touch at historypin@wearewhatwedo.org if you would like to get more info.

Partners

Who are Historypin's existing partners?

Historypin is a really collaborative project works with loads of partners all over the world.

Some examples include Google, our main technology partner, The Nominet Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, two of our funding partners, and over 200 library, museum and archive partners.

What does your partnership with Google involve?

Google is We Are What We Do's main technology partner on the project and we have been working together from the early stages of development to get the most out of Historypin's use of Google tools, including Google Maps, Picasa, Google App Engine and Android.

Google has also supported the development costs of the project with donations and sponsorship, as well as marketing support and collaboration. Google shares We Are What We Do's commitment to Historypin as a non-commercial, collaborative project that delivers social impact and contributes to digital inclusion.

How can library, archive or museums get involved?

We work closely with lots of institutions all over the world and do everything we can to support participation. Our partnerships range from opening up large archive Collections onto Historypin to collaborating on a local project to developing new tools and games for users.

For all the information about this, have a look here.

Or get in touch with our Content Manager, Rebekkah Abraham, at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org

How can schools get involved?

Have a look at our Schools section where you will find ideas about how to use Historypin, downloadable resources & activities and some of the best content to explore.

We also have some examples of what Historypin activities have been going on in schools.

For more information get in touch with our Content Manager, Rebekkah Abraham, at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org to talk about how we can support your aims and plans.

How can universities and academic institutions get involved?

We are currently working closely with Stanford University's Spatial History Lab to develop a series of new study and research tools and will be looking to collaborate with academic institutions all over the world on this work.

If you would like to talk about working with Historypin, please contact our Executive Director, Nick Stanhope, at nick.stanhope@wearewhatwedo.org

How can community organisations, historical associations or photography societies get more involved?

The best way to get started is to create a Profile, start pinning some content and curate some Tours & Collections.

You can also have a look at our Community section to find out more about how you can use Historypin with your organisation and community.

If you have more questions, contact our Content Manager, Rebekkah Abraham on rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org

I'd like to talk about partnering with Historypin, who can I contact?

For general partnership enquiries, please contact historypin@wearewhatwedo.org.

Data

Where is the content stored?

The site is hosted securely on Google App Engine.

Is there any limit to the amount of content that can go on the site?

No, as we are using Google's infrastructure we have almost unlimited resource available to Historypin.

How can I help improve data on Historypin?

If you find content that has metadata (i.e. information on the location and date) that you think you can improve, click on "Dispute" underneath the content. You will be able to send your suggestion to the Historypin Team, who will update the metadata attached to the content.

Is data shared with other parties?

No.

Integration with other platforms

Can I embed Historypin tools on my site?

Yes, you can embed the Map View, List View, Collections and Tours of your Historypin Profile on your own site. To do this, login to your Profile, Click “Profile and Account settings” and select “Link with my site”. Choose the parts of your Profile that you want to embed and click ‘generate code’ to create the code to put in your website’s html.

Does Historypin have an API?

Not yet. Plans for this are in development and we will keep you posted in our blog.

Can I get statistics on my content?

Yes. To find out statistics about your content, login to your Profile and click the “Statistics” tab.

Copyright and use of content

How will the content be protected?

The Terms and Conditions protect your content by preventing public or commercial use. High resolution images are not available to download from the site.

How will my content be credited on the site?

Content will always be attached to your username, which links to your Profile, which can consist of a logo, description and links.

When pinning content, you can add further details in the Additional Info box including info on the photographer/cameraman/recorder, copyright license details, copyright holder and archive information. Individual links can also be added to each piece of content.

What can other users do with my content?

Users can pick your content to feature in a Collection or Tour that they make. They can also add their own stories to your content. They can suggest to Historypin that it is in the wrong place or date.

What can Historypin do with my content?

The Historypin Team can remove inappropriate content, edit content by adding keywords and improve the accuracy of location and date information.

For non-commercial, online promotional purposes and presentations. Historypin can also feature your content within our newsletters, via our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ identities and within schools and community presentations.

For more information on this, take a look at our Terms & Conditions.

Privacy

Do you share my user information with anyone?

No, never. You can see our privacy policy here.

App

What can the Historypin app do?

Through the app you can:

  • Explore the Historypin map - the Historypin map has 1000s of images and stories pinned to it and the app allows users to browse this by date and location, using your location to find the nearest content, or exploring remotely.
  • Explore the streets - holding your phone up to the street, the app uses your camera view to display nearby images. By selecting the image, it can be overlaid onto the modern view to create an historical comparison, which the user can toggle or fade between.
  • Read stories and recollections – all stories shared can be accessed through the app.
  • Capture a modern moment of history - images taken with the app are immediately pinned to the Historypin map, with users adding titles and stories. Images can also be added from users' phone albums.
  • Digitise an old photo - users can take photos of old pictures as an easy alternative to scanning them, then add photo details and pin them directly to the Historypin map.
  • Take modern equivalents of old classics - when exploring historic content, users will be invited to snap exact contemporary replicas
  • Browse Collections from anywhere - users will be able to explore selected Collections from Historypin.com
  • Shake history up - a simple shake of the app brings up a random piece of content from anywhere in the world

How do I get the Historypin app?

You can download the free Historypin app for Android, iPhone and Windows Here.

Why does the Historypin app require my Google Account details?

A Google account is required to create a Historypin account. This is needed if you wish to pin content, post a comment or take a modern replica with the app.

Funding

How is Historypin funded?

Historypin is owned and managed by We Are What We Do, a UK registered not-for-profit (Community Interest Company) and charitable foundation (Charity Number: 1134546).

The project is funded in a range of ways:

  • Donations from supporters
  • Grants from trusts and foundations
  • Sponsorship from corporate partners
  • Investment from We Are What We Do's other work

What happens to the profits from Historypin?

If the Historypin project generates surplus income from these funding streams, it would be reinvested in the following year's running and development costs or donated to the We Are What We Do Charitable Foundation's community and education work.

How can I donate to Historypin?

Via our Friends of Historypin Programme. Find out more here.

Future Plans

What's next for Historypin?

We'll be working hard to improve Historypin for users and will be adding new features and functions regularly. For up to date news on this, keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blog.

What's next for We Are What We Do?

We Are What We Do creates a series of new products, tools and services each year, around different issues and themes. For up to date news on this, keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook and sign up to our newsletter.

Contact

I'm a journalist and want to write a fabulously complimentary article about you. What do I do?

Check out our press section for a press pack that might be helpful. If you have any questions, get in touch with Rebekkah Abraham at rebekkah.abraham@wearewhatwedo.org.

I've got another question, what should I do?

Email historypin@wearewhatwedo.org

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