The Library Archives at Loyola University Chicago has a collection of over 1,000 artifacts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including broadside prints and satirical cartoons. This collection was donated to LUC by Thomas J. Michalak, and the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities has been digitizing these prints and making them available to other scholars. In an effort to expand the reach and utility of these artifacts, I was invited by the CTSDH to develop a mobile application capable of viewing annotated high-resolution prints from the collection. Below are some images from the prototype that I developed over the Spring ’13 semester; all functionality and appearances are subject to change as this application is still far from completion.

Michalak Project - Print Display

After selecting a print from the list at the beginning of the application, the user is presented with a clean image with no annotations. The print can be manipulated in the same way as the native iOS image gallery application: single-finger panning, pinch gesture zooming, and double-tap zooming. Pressing the magnifying glass in the bottom right corner displays annotations of the print that are interactable and describes details of the print.

Michalak Project - Annotation Interaction

The print can still be manipulated while the annotation popover is being displayed to allow the user to look at other details surrounding the current annotation. Annotations can contain links to other online content, for example the above link takes the user to an artifact on the British Museum’s website. The annotation popover points to the annotation controls, which guide the user through the intended order that the annotations are meant to be read. This functionality is intended for instructors who may wish to use this application as a lecture aid, or for students who may be researching this print. Annotation overlays can also be turned on or off while using the guided pathway to get a better view of an obscured detail. The user can view all of the annotations associated with this print by pressing the booklet icon in the bottom-right corner:

Michalak Project - Annotation List

Entries in this annotation list can be tapped, which will hide the list and display the relevant annotation. The navigation button in the top-right corner allows the user to view some of the metadata associated with the print:

Print metadata – expandable to contain more data

Currently this application only targets iPad devices, though iOS 5.1 is the minimum required version so all iPads are supported. This application is built on top of OpenGL ES 2.0 for performance and greater visual enhancements not available in ES 1.1. Print images are restricted to a maximum of 2048 pixels in either dimension, as this is a device limitation of iOS devices (which we hope to circumvent by chopping the prints into tiles). Each print has an associated XML data file which stores the annotations and metadata. All prints and data files are currently built into the application, but in the future we would like to support CONTENTdm integration where users could download other prints directly from their mobile device.

When we are satisfied with application, we will be making this project open source and available to other Digital Humanities scholars.