Permalinking the Hard Rock Memorabilia exhibit

The Hard Rock Memorabilia exhibit is a great example of what becomes possible now that Seadragon Deep Zoom is integrated into Silverlight 2. The exhibit includes:

Madonna’s page in her high school yearbook:

Pat Boone’s shoes:

John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to Imagine:

And there’s much more. When you choose subsets — by artist, decade, type (e.g. clothing, instruments), genre, location — the images retile, and they’re all navigable using Deep Zoom’s extreme zoom and pan capability.

Note that the links above lead directly into the exhibit and focus on the indicated asset. You acquire these from the Share link in the right pane, which exposes URLs of the form:

It’s great to see this permalink feature included. Deep Zoom is going to open up vast spaces for exploration, and in order to explore those spaces together we’ll need shared coordinate systems.

To that end, I’m hoping that future incarnations of this sort of exhibit will expose richer URL namespaces. If I want to show you Madonna’s yearbook in the context of the 1970s, I have to tell you to click Decade, then 1970, then choose the 2nd item in the 3rd row. It’d be great to be able to get you there directly:

And of course I’d want to locate Madonna for you, among her other classmates, by zooming to the desired view and then tacking those coordinates onto the URL.

If these precise locators are made available, conversations about the views they identify can form on the web. To see why it’s crucial to expose a public namespace, consider the David Rumsey map collection. There you can explore and precisely annotate an extraordinary collection of historical maps. And you search for those annotations within the Java-based viewer. But when you annotate a feature within a map, it doesn’t — so far as I can tell — produce a shareable URL. If those URLs were available, the collection would be woven into public discourse to a far greater degree than it is.

A couple of years ago, I asked whether rich Internet apps can be web-friendly. One of the reponses came from Kevin Lynch at Adobe, who made this example showing how navigation within a Flash exhibit of images can be reflected on the URL-line.

I don’t think it matters much whether you expose the RIA’s state on the URL-line or by means of a permalink. What matters is that you do it, and do it in as granular way as makes sense for the application.

PS: For extra credit, it’s nice to provide the underlying data for this sort of exhibit. When you’re exploring the Cubism timeline, for example, you can grab the data and mix it as you please.

5 thoughts on “Permalinking the Hard Rock Memorabilia exhibit

  1. Ron Schott


    Have you had a look at I know it’s in the Google/Flash family tree, not Microsoft’s, but it allows you to do a lot of the same things as the new Deep Zoom (formerly SeaDragon) application – as far as I can see. Plus, you can annotate “snapshots” there and the snapshots get their own URL, which (if I understand it correctly) is part of what you’re asking for above. If it’s not out of line (given your employment by Microsoft) to review a competing product, I’d love to hear your thoughts on a head to head comparison Deep Zoom and Gigapan. (I’ll gladly disclose that I’ve got a Gigapan unit and am one of the more prolific posters to the site.) I’m curious, though, because I don’t see why the equipment I’ve got for creating Gigapan images couldn’t produce the raw materials for Deep Zoom images, as well.

    Ron Schott

  2. Jon Udell Post author

    “I’d love to hear your thoughts on a head to head comparison Deep Zoom and Gigapan”

    I don’t know anything about the internals of either of these, so I wouldn’t be of much use there. Would like to hear from someone who can make an informed comparison, though.

    I guess there are a couple of axes to explore. First, the technology for managing multiscale images and conveying them over the network. Second, the mechanism for stitching scenes together — in this case, more of a comparison between Gigapan and Photosynth.


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