Serendip-o-matic is doubly innovative – firstly, it was made in just one week by a group who met for the first time on a Sunday, and managed to come up with an idea, and design, build and launch the website by the Friday afternoon. Secondly, Serendip-o-matic connects people to the collections of museums, libraries and archives in creative ways. Serendip-o-matic examines your research interests, identifies content in locations such as the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Europeana, Trove, and Flickr Commons, and gives you a page full of serendipitous discoveries.
Serendip-o-matic shows that heritage and humanities projects can move quickly and still produce great results. It demonstrates the value of online collections, APIs and cultural aggregators like the DPLA and Europeana, and because it’s open source, it’s easy to add new collections. While the interface is deliberately whimsical and fun, our serendipity engine does some serious work behind the scenes – parsing the supplied text, performing named entity recognition, querying a number of specialist APIs and sprinkling some magic on the results.
But perhaps more importantly, it shows that fun interfaces to cultural heritage can do serious work too. Serendip-o-matic provides a way for anyone – academic researcher or school kid – to find collections relevant to their interests. Give it a whirl today at http://www.serendipomatic.org.
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