Place: Is On-line the Right Place? Integrating Student Research into an On-line Resouces to Enhance the Study of Local Architectural History

Mary Prevo, Hampden-Sydney College

The Hampden-Sydney campus includes examples of 19th-century academic and domestic architecture that I have been using for teaching since 2000.  Over the years students have examined buildings, located historic photographs and documents, and developed reports based on standards set by the National Register of Historic Places.  Their work and sources reside in various places: formal and informal, publicly-available and unpublished.  The purpose of this project is to bring these resources together with interactive mapping and sorting software.  The resulting database will have two purposes:  to house information collected by students in the past and to be a resource for future research.  The beta version of this project includes six buildings and is based on a website for the study of modern architecture in Richmond developed by Jeannine Keefer, Visual Resource Librarian and Pre-Architecture Advisor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Richmond.  I will present the framework for the project which uses an html page and cloud-based spreadsheet and image server. The interactive mapping, sorting, and display capabilities in the home html page are provided by open-sources widgets developed by MIT’s SIMILE project.

In the future students will participate in expanding the resource with new buildings and source material. In the process they will gain an understanding of the importance of standardized data collection and see a public application of the skills they develop in class (architectural photography and data collection, including cataloging architectural drawings).  I anticipate that the knowledge that their work will be immediately part of a larger, public endeavor will encourage students to greater personal accountability and provide them with greater satisfaction.

The value of this project is that it builds on an existing web project, uses open source software, and brings previously unpublished student classwork to a more publically available platform.

Mary Prevo, Hampden-Sydney College Architecture, 2012

Website address:


  • Hypertext written and developed by Davis and Prevo and hosted on HSC server includes embedded widgets developed by MIT’s Simile project
  • Data and links to images held in a Google Docs spreadsheet (cloud)
  • Thumbnails for html page stored on Picasa (cloud)
  • Larger images stored on Flickr (cloud)


Exhibit: Publishing Framework for Data-Rich Interactive Web Pages.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006-2009.

Keefer, Jeannine. “Finding 20th Century Architecture in Richmond.” VRA Bulletin. Vol. 37, no.3. 2010, pp. 35-43.

Richmond Architecture. Developed by Jeannine Keefer for her architectural history classes.

SIMILE Widgets: Free, Open-Source Data Visulization Web Widgets, and More.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006-2009.


Jeannine Keefer, Visual Resources Librarian and Pre-Architecture Advisor, University of Richmond

Dr. Richard C. McClintock, Director of Publications, HSC

Robert R. Davis, III, Software Developer, HSC

Students in American Domestic Architecture classes even-numbered years since 2004

Students in the Hampden-Sydney Architectural Society

Hampden-Sydney College Bortz Award for Teaching with Technology, 2012


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