Culture 1.0: Creating a Cultural Workstation

Article excerpt

This month, we're going to begin an examination of HyperCard (TM) applications that, while not library specific, are without doubt library related. The first one that we will look at is Culture TM 1.0 from Cultural Resources, Inc. Culture 1.0 was a big hit at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco and drew appreciative crowds at the Computers in Libraries conference in Oakland this past March.

Culture 1.0 is an extraordinary product, not only as HyperCard stackware, but as a computer-based learning tool. In effect, it is designed to convert a Macintosh into what its creators call a "cultural workstation." What they've done largely succeeds.

Culture 1.0 is a multimedia contextual guide to nearly four millenia of Western history and culture, including music and literature. The complete package contains over 1,800 cards among its nine stacks which total 5 megabytes. A well-conceived and written user's manual comes with the set. A Macintosh with 1 megabyte of memory, HyperCard 1.2 or above, and a hard disk are required to run Culture 1.0.

Features

Among its features are:

* over 200 graphic images of famous people, places, and works of art

* seventy-five signawre melodies of famous composers

* twenty-one cultural grids displaying the humanities disciplines by country

* thirty introductory essays to each historical epoch, including specific references to the art and music of that period

* fifty-nine historical essays on famous people, events, mid aspects of Western civilization

The basis for Culture 1.0 is over two decades of teaching and research by Walter W. Reinhold, professor of music history and humanities at New York University. Professor Reinhold and his co-author Chris Chapman, in summarizing die goal behind Culwre 1.0, say that: "The great aims of education are KNOWLEDGE and PERSPECTIVE. Facilitating culwralliteracy and perspective in the core tradition of Western Civilization is the ultimate purpose of Culture 1.0.

"It is our belief that names, dates and facts are more relevant and easier to assimilate and remember when seen in context, sort of like a sticky ball that accumulates more and more "stuff' as it rolls along.

"By knowing die CULTURAL and INTELLECTUAL MILIEU of the great (and even lesser) historical figures one can begin to acquire an ASSOCIATIVE or CONTEXTUAL CULTURAL LITERACY." (Culture 1.0, "Intro/MacroView - HyperForward to Culture.")

Structure

Culwre 1.0 divides Westem history mid civilization into twenty-seven specific eras or generations of contemporaries whose contributions were made within that era. Each era is represented by an icon for easy reference. In addition, there are CulturGrids(TM) that represent subperiods of specific historical cycles. Through the CultureGrids, users can quickly see all the important pople who were working, creating, and thinking, through which related facts, names, dates, places, and works of art are displayed.

Each major era is also delineated by country. By navigating the CultureGrid horizontally, the user can locate, for example, all the important rulers, composers, artists, writers, etc. in Germany. A vertical scan can then wm up all the important composers by country, for example, giving the user a glimpse of the leading figures of Westem music in terms of their geographic location.

Users can also serendipitously browse to their hearts' content via the over 2,000 dynamic links created for navigation through Culwre 1.0. Each link is emblazoned in bold type. By searching on the period of the Black Death for example, a user can then learn of the writer Petrarch, whose great love Laura died of the plague, and then return to learn more facets of that period.

Navigating

Upon opening Culture 1.0, the user is greeted with the Overview menu card. This is the main hub for travel through Culture 1. …