My final project was initially going to be something along the lines of digitizing the Butterfield archive, which I had heard was some fabeled folders up in DuBois full of old fliers and photos from the dorm’s heyday. Unfortunately, the records are pretty slim. They mostly only kept Daily Collegian articles that you can find with a simple Google search. The real Butterfield Archives, made by the students themselves and kept in a closet, were lost years ago. With that in mind, the project became a mission to create a new archive online for future generations.
Having it online has advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, it’s available for anyone who wants to find it, and Tumblr’s submit feature means that anyone can add to it. It also allows for the archives to store different types of media, such as music and video (which is pretty crucial to telling the story of Butterfield, as one of its key characteristics is the focus on the arts: including movies and music). The downside is that there’s no physical presence of the artifacts; you can’t pick something up and really look at it, or get really sentimental and imagine all the Butterfielders who held it before you. That’s why Google Glass and the Structure Sensor really come in handy with this project. Glass allows you to take full advantage of the video sharing capabilities of an online archive, as they provide for unobtrusive documentary filming and first person perspectives of what the dorm looks like and how it feels to occupy space within it. The Sensor brings some degree of that physicality you lose online, as you can at least store 3D models of an artifact. You might even be able to recreate it with a 3D printer at some point.
The blog includes a variety of posts from links, to pictures, to even 3D models. The tagging system allows for these posts to be sorted by decade and type of post, as well as specific tags pertaining to Butterfield like the Koffee Hauses or Bands of Butterfield. The hope is that these specific tags, and even the way we categorize these posts will change and grow as more things are submitted from a variety of sources. Butterfield alumni are almost always extremely proud of their little dorm on top of the hill, and are likely to be willing contributors.
Other aspects of the site include a brief history of the dorm, an equally brief description of the aims of the project, and contact information (including a heart link back to this blog) so others can get involved.
One of the objects scanned so far is a mug from the Van Meter/Butterfield Koffee Haus, which is linked to a long-standing dorm tradition. You can check it out here. (I tried scanning some larger symbolic artifacts like the piano in the basement and the bench outside where people meet to hang out, but as it turns out I am really bad with the structure sensor, so this is that scan that looks the best).
The blog itself can be found here. It is currently password protected, as it’s in it’s early stages. You can get in by typing the affectionate nickname almost unanimously and universally given to the dorm: TheButt.