Digital Humanities
@ Pratt

Inquiries into culture, meaning, and human value meet emerging technologies and cutting-edge skills at Pratt Institute's School of Information

Noreen Whysel’s “Pinterest as an Exhibition Gallery” at Metropolitan New York Library Council, 2/10/16

“Pinterest as an Exhibition Gallery” is a convenient platform for institutions to showcase their collections of ephemera with digital imagery on the World Wide Web. Digital Humanities emphasize academic studies and institutions to collaborate by utilizing technology as a way to engage research and teaching. Moving Digital Humanities onto media platforms that are already popular among users can provide a useful place to curate, display, and provide information by using social media applications such as, Pinterest. Although it generally focuses on arts and crafts and visual images, this platform is also a time efficient and convenient source for librarians and archivists to popularize their institutions’ ephemera. It is imperative for institutional staffs, such as librarians and archivists to utilize Pinterest in order to raise users’ awareness about the institutions’ collections, and reach an audience that can span the globe.

Digital Humanities is a subject that highlights innovative technology within the disciplines of the humanities, and provides open access to education. In Lisa Spiro’s This Is Why We Fight”: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities highlights the goals of digital humanities by explaining “digital humanists are beginning to press for open access not only to digital collections, tools, and scholarship but also to educational resources and even course evaluations” ( Digital humanists value public education, nonprofit organizations, and institutions utilizing social media platforms, such as Pinterest to allow users to gain knowledge through the open access articles. Furthermore, Spiro states Ethan Watrall’s argument, “open courseware benefits the global community of learners by making knowledge widely available (‘and is thus ‘the right thing to do’)” ( Non-profit organizations and institutions providing open access journals on Pinterest support the public in gaining more resources and knowledge.

“Pinterest as an Exhibition Gallery” included workshops which demonstrated steps to upload, save, sort, and manage images, or “pins” from the web browser with the pin icon. The pins are managed through collections known as pinboards, providing a categorized source of topics and images placed into one board. Moreover, the pinboards offer a 200 word description allowing users to read a summary about the board. Pinterest also acts as a personalized media platform and users can browse the content of others in their feed. Pinterest users can also personalize their experience with Pinterest by pinning items, creating boards, and interacting with other members as this social media website provides users with their own unique and personalized results. Many professions can also utilize Pinterest including librarians and archivists to pin resources such as ephemera and articles without technical difficulties.

Architecture Media Politics Society (AMPS) is a nonprofit organization providing open access articles to educate Pinterest users. This nonprofit organization is affiliated with the peer reviewed open access online journal published by the University College of London (UCL) Press. The AMPS website states that “its social aims can be defined as: promoting an understanding of the role of architecture and the built environment on communities, public health and society more broadly” ( AMPS highlights the study and research in architecture within a social context enabling Pinterest users to utilize research articles and operate a forum for the analysis of architecture.

The chapter “Social Media for Digital Humanities and Community Engagement” in the Digital Humanities in Practice by Claire Ross highlights the significance of social media to researchers and global users. “Social media is increasingly attracting the attention of academic researchers, who are intrigued by its affordances and reach” ( Social media presence is an important way for institutions and nonprofit organizations to become more widely recognized. Ross continues to state, “social networks, blogs, podcasts and crowdsourcing are now central to our work in digital humanities. Because of their ease of use, they offer an opportunity for powerful information sharing, collaboration, participation and community engagement” ( AMPS use of Pinterest enables users not only to gain access to scholarly articles, but also to view the AMPS Pinterest board. AMPS display boards are relevant to architecture, and include the topics such as “architecture exhibition” which highlights the collection of architectural objects in various museums.

By providing these Pinterest boards, AMPS emphasizes collaboration with other institutions. With their contributions, many users, including architecture firms, can recognize the significance of AMPS and raise awareness about architecture.  Institutions and nonprofit organizations utilizing social media advance the public awareness by collaborating and highlighting community engagements over the same field. Moreover, Pinterest also contains a “comment” link where many users can have discussions on the AMPS Pinterest board. This highlights the importance of digital humanities, where many users are able to collaborate and discuss architecture in a social context. The Housing Critical Futures (HCF) project, displayed in the “Conference: Obsolescence and Renovation 20th Century Housing in the New Millennium” board collaborates with various institutions for conferences and events. Users can also collaborate with others by clicking on the “comment” link. Pinterest users and the HCF contributors are able to exchange feedback, and the HCF can create more ideas into this housing project. Pinterest users gain knowledge about affordable housing and many are able to contribute to AMPS housing projects. Since digital humanities highlight collaboration, it is imperative to have many users to participate in community engagements both online and offline.


Noreen Whysel demonstrating the Pinterest board. The screen displays The “Fire and Light: Illumination in Religious Art”, a website Whysel completed as a MSLIS student at Pratt Institute. Since many of the attendees were staff members from institutions and museums, the “Fire and Light: Illumination in Religious Art” website demonstrates a great example for archivists and librarians to utilize Pinterest and display visual images of the institutions ephemera.

Although Pinterest has a reputation for displaying non-academic resources, it is imperative for institutions and nonprofit organizations to engage in social media for sharing resources. Institutions utilizing Pinterest provides global access to many users and gains public awareness. This provides many Pinterest users an opportunity to retrieve the institutional resources provided by AMPS. Utilizing Pinterest contributes to the global access of scholarly articles and many users can also contribute to the institutions’ events through user engagement and communication. Institutions utilizing social media such as Pinterest open up various opportunities for institutions to be recognized as an educational resource, and in the digital humanities perspective, institutions utilizing non-academic sources for awareness, such as Pinterest, challenges conventional methods of expanding ideas to engage the global public.











“Housing-Critical Futures.”, ArchitectureMPS, Dec.1, 2015. Web. 13, February, 2016

“About.”, ArchitectureMPS, Dec. 1, 2015. Web. 13, February, 2016

Ross, Claire. “Chapter 2: Social media for digital humanities and community engagement.” Digital Humanities in Practice. UCLDH Book Project. n.p. November 2011.

Spiro, Lisa. “This Is Why We Fight”: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities.” Debates in the Digital Humanities (2013):   n.pag. Web. 13 February, 2016

Whysel, Noreen. “Fire and Light: Illumination in Religious Art”. 25 Apr. 2014. 17 Feb. 2016





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