Several years ago when I really started getting interested in the history of the Harlem Line, and began collecting old timetables and artifacts, I had the grand idea that I would create a “digital museum” for the line. Although I attempted it with the “Harlem Line Historical Archives,” the archives were poorly organized, extremely clunky to find anything, and extremely time consuming to update. In an effort to create something better, I began work on SmartCat last summer. I had been hoping to launch it in the fall, but it never happened. Six months later, and long overdue, I am pleased to finally launch SmartCat.
In SmartCat you will find scans of over 300 artifacts related to the Harlem Line, ranging from 1857 to today. All items are tagged for easier browsing, and the system has a built-in search engine – an important upgrade from the old archives. The overwhelming majority of the artifacts currently available in SmartCat are timetables and postcards. Right now, only the covers of the timetables are scanned. Although it will be a massive undertaking, I hope to scan the insides of some of these timetables and make them available as well.
I’m going to quit talking about SmartCat – because you really need to be checking it out for yourself. You can use the below “guide” to the system, or click here to view everything.
Congratulations! What a fantastic project!
A curious occasional web developer wants to know: What tool did you use to put this together? Is it a feature of whatever blog software you’re running or a separate CMS?
(I’m primarily a hand-written HTML/CSS guy, but I helped build a Drupal site last year which was lots of fun.)
I ended up getting a person to help me by creating a plugin for wordpress that handles the system. So I suppose it is like a mini CMS built into a CMS.