What it is

Serendip-o-matic connects your sources to digital materials located in libraries, museums, and archives around the world. By first examining your research interests, and then identifying related content in locations such as the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Europeana, and Flickr Commons, our serendipity engine helps you discover photographs, documents, maps and other primary sources.

Whether you begin with text from an article, a Wikipedia page, or a full Zotero collection, Serendip-o-matic’s special algorithm extracts key terms and returns a surprising reflection of your interests. Because the tool is designed mostly for inspiration, search results aren’t meant to be exhaustive, but rather suggestive, pointing you to materials you might not have discovered. At the very least, the magical input-output process helps you step back and look at your work from a new perspective. Give it a whirl. Your sources may surprise you.

How we built it

Serendip-o-matic is the product of One Week | One Tool, an open-source software-development institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and hosted by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Driven by the goal of building a research and teaching tool from conception to launch in one work week, twelve dynamic individuals converged on CHNM in the summer of 2013. Working in the spirit of a digital humanities “barn raising,” team members capitalized on their diverse perspectives and skills in order to conceive, build, test, launch, and promote Serendip-o-matic from start to finish. The process was summarized in our press release and you can read more about One Week One Tool by members of the group. Get another perspective from the #OWOT twitter archiveview photos and video clips in our Flickr group or read what others say about Serendip-o-matic.

Serendip-o-matic launched with the DPLAEuropeana, and Flickr APIs but is not endorsed or certified by these services. For more information on the libraries we used in developing this application and the latest list of APIs used, see our documentation wiki on Github.

Who we are

We are a team of twelve scholars, students, librarians, and museum professionals.

  • Brian Croxall, co-project manager, is the Digital Humanities Strategist and Lecturer of English at Emory University. briancroxall.net | @briancroxall
  • Jack Dougherty, outreach team leader, is Associate Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. commons.trincoll.edu/jackdougherty | @DoughertyJack
  • Meghan Frazer, co-project manager, is the Digital Resources Curator at the Knowlton School of Architecture at Ohio State University. @MeghanFrazer
  • Scott Kleinman, development/design team member, is Professor of English at California State University, Northridge. scottkleinman.net | @sekleinman
  • Rebecca Sutton Koeser, development/design team member, is a Software Engineer at Emory University. @suttonkoeser
  • Ray Palin, outreach team member, is Librarian and Teacher at Sunapee Middle High School in Sunapee, New Hampshire. raypalin.info | @raypalin
  • Amy Papaelias, development/design team member, is a Graphic Designer and Assistant Professor of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz. amypapaelias.com | @fontnerd
  • Mia Ridge, development/design team leader, is a PhD Candidate in digital humanities in the Department of History at the Open University, United Kingdom, and Chair of the UK’s Museums Computer Group. openobjects.blogspot.com | @mia_out
  • Eli Rose, development/design team member, is a Computer Science/Creative Writing Major at Oberlin College. erose@oberlin.edu
  • Amanda Visconti, development/design team member, is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities and PhD candidate in the University of Maryland English Department. literaturegeek.com | @Literature_Geek
  • Scott Williams, development/design team member, is the Collections Database Administrator at the Penn Museum. @moltude
  • Amrys Williams, outreach team member, is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Wesleyan University. amrys.wordpress.com | @shazamrys