For those of you who are unaware, the NYPL has an innovative lab not too unlike our own.
From their website:
NYPL Labs is an experimental design and technology unit creating richly interactive experiences around research library collections and data... Labs operates as a sort of in-house tech startup at NYPL, working closely with curators to develop projects that push the envelope of library practice, engaging new audiences through user collaboration and crowdsourcing, and accelerating the flow of cultural heritage content, data and code into the digital commons.
In addition to innovation, Labs works on improving core digital research services at the Library, and is currently designing new interfaces and tools for NYPL's extensive archival collections.
One of the neater things they've done recently is make public their archive of stereographs. Stereographs are a pretty simple technology, especially by today's standards, that allowed folks of yore to add depth perception to photographs (remember your ViewFinder?)
Here's an example:
You can also then convert this .gif into a static image that will appear 3-dimensional with a pair of 3D glasses like the ones you wore for Avatar. How cool!
Among the other cool projects they are doing is making NYC's 1940 census data searchable before it's been indexed/made machine readable by combining telephone book data & census data. It took me about 20 minutes to find my paternal grandmother's census record (if you'd like to look up any records and want some help let me know!).
Anyway, check out their site, which features some of the other projects they're working on. They're doing some really great stuff with their archival material, making it easily accesible to the public in ways never before possible. I think archive material tends to gets a bad rap for being so, I guess, old, making the work this team does even more exciting. Maybe we could reach out to them and have them come in for a presentation? I think it could be really inspiring!