Information Technologies for Cultivating Domestic Artifacts

  • William Sims BainbridgeEmail author
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


Artifacts are humanly-created physical objects that embody information of value to archaeologists, anthropologists and historians, and some also function as emotionally valuable relics for the families that own them. To the extent possible, a family historian should document and interpret them in situ, that is within the physical and social context where they were used. The chapter begins with multiple examples of in situ documentation using descriptive text and photographs, first within a communal religious movement from a sociological study, then within the home of an ordinary family. Although often ignored by scholars, among the most meaningful artifacts are childhood toys, as is explained with examples from a roughly 1922 professional photograph of three children with their most treasured toys, then a 1932 home movie that includes one of the same artifacts. Several examples show how some artifacts can be preserved by scanning, beginning with a war relic cross that was collected in Flanders Fields in 1918, sharing the results both with the wider family that has the physical cross, and with the people who live today in the exact area where it originated, through their local history website. Then two pictures are scanned in different ways, while their metadata are considerably expanded through online searches. Not all artifacts are small objects that can be held in a human hand or displayed on a bookcase, so the chapter ends with a variety of methods for preserving very large things, specifically farm machinery and sailboats, starting with a 1942 home movie and then considering a range of alternatives including computer simulation of the object.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent historianChantillyUSA

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