Marshall faculty, librarians launch history website and mobile app


ClioUsersDr. Monica Brooks of Marshall Libraries and Drs. Dan Holbrook and David Trowbridge of the Department of History have announced the public launch of Clio, a website and mobile application for the study of history.

Named after the ancient muse of history, Clio, which can be found online at www.theclio.com, has been built by Trowbridge and students assisting him over the past two years. Clio picks up a user’s location anywhere in the United States and tells them about the history and culture that surrounds them, with a growing database that includes nearly 4000 museums, art galleries, monuments, sculptures, and historical sites. In addition, contributors across the nation are adding hundreds of sites each month, Trowbridge said.

“Clio creates a fascinating journey that illustrates historical events, people, and places across America,” said Jackie Wheeler, one of the students who has worked on the project. “By creating an entry on Clio, you can help to broaden the availability of rich American history and passionately share events, some of which are less known. I have enjoyed being a part of Clio and bringing history to others in a new and wonderful way.”

Clio provides a summary and backstory for each location, along with links to more information, Trowbridge said. Clio can also connect users to relevant books, articles, and websites when they are ready to learn more about any particular topic.

In addition to guiding the public to physical sites such as monuments and museum, Clio includes “Time Capsule” entries that allow users to hold their smartphones up to the modern landscape and see images and videos of historic events that have not yet been commemorated with markers. For example, Clio can guide users to the precise location of a civil rights protest or a labor strike. Users can “feel history” as they stand at that location while viewing images and videos of the event and reading primary source documents and interpretations of the event written by scholars. For example, Clio shows the precise location of sit-ins in Huntington and Charleston, allowing users with smartphones to view images and videos of the sit-ins right where they occurred.

“Clio has given me the opportunity to unearth the historical significance of DuBois High School,” said Hailey Horn, another of the students who has worked on the project. “Clio allows us to bring history to the present, and inform the community members of its importance.”

Clio’s goal is to connect everyone in the United States to the history and culture that surrounds them, Trowbridge said. Each entry can provide a basic summary, detailed backstory, images and audio/video clips, as well as suggested books and articles for those who want to know more. Entries for museums and archives provide addresses, hours, phone numbers, and official websites, along with turn-by-turn directions. Because Clio can pick up a user’s present location, it can always guide them right to the place, he added.

“Clio reaches beyond the textbook, allowing a user to access the history that surrounds us,” said J. Lee Sigmon, another of Trowbridge’s students. “Events, places, and people are brought to the user, [making] Clio perfect for historically-inclined tourists. Launch the App and a region’s history comes alive.”

Students, faculty, and librarians recently filmed a video introduction to Clio, highlighting its capacity to connect users to the history that surrounds them. It is available at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ydzv9nY-Oo

Clio is available on any web browser or as a free mobile application (“app”) in iTunes and Google Play.