About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.



Where can you go to find pictures of “Dem Bums” back in the day? Or R.F.K. hanging out at the Brooklyn Navy Yard? On the just-launched Brooklyn Visual Heritage website you can peruse or purchase thousands of images of important Brooklyn historical events or simply ones that recall your own personal history.

The Brooklyn Visual Heritage website was created through Project CHART (Cultural Heritage, Access, Research, and Technology), a three-year collaborative effort of Pratt’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS), the Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, and Brooklyn Public Library, was developed as an easily accessible way to share historic images of Brooklyn.

Scholars, historians, and the general public of all ages can engage with Brooklyn’s historic past and make connections to our current city. Pratt-SILS received a grant of over $950,000 for Project CHART from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). For SILS, the goal was to provide hands-on training for the next generation of information professionals so that they can become effective digital managers and curators for digital collections and services within cultural institutions. Students participating in Pratt’s new 18-credit program in Digital Management of Cultural Heritage as part of their Master’s degree in Library and Information Science received scholarships through the IMLS funding. 

Caridad Bojorquez (M.L.I.S. '13), a Project CHART intern, worked alongside the staff at the Brooklyn Historical Society. "We were given the opportunity to challenge and direct ourselves on how to best handle collections," said Bojorquez. "We developed digitization plans, researched things like copyright and geographic locations, worked with fragile items, and learned how cultural institutions work both internally as well as collaboratively with fellow organizations."

Hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Visual Heritage website is included in the library’s strategic plan, which aims to more fully engage users with Brooklyn culture and community. While Project CHART’s time frame was limited to the three years of the grant, the collaborating institutions intend that Brooklyn Visual Heritage will have a long life beyond the grant timeframe.

“The project has been an exceptional experience for the students—and the institutions involved— it gave students an educational experience tied to a real project of lasting value,” said Tula Giannini, dean, SILS and project director for Project CHART. “As a collaborative effort it was both challenging and rewarding. We worked together as a team to build consensus on the design of the site. So, for example, we chose to use an open source platform and focus on user experience.  We drew upon ‘best practices’ of the partnering institutions and in the end, users have the experience of a seamless search even though they are going across three institutions.” 

For Giannini, the next chapter in the project is focusing on how this new digital resource can be used to serve education and research, as well as engage users to participate more fully in the rich resources and programs of these great Brooklyn cultural institutions. “We want to be able to connect people to the cultural history of their communities,” Giannini said. “We are now working on refining the site. Next month, we are meeting to consider future plans.”

Text: Bay Brown

References (8)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.