The Houston Public Library’s Exhibit Snapshot (THPLES) is a new software tool that provides an interactive exhibition experience for viewers who cannot physically attend library exhibitions.
Launched in 2012 with Faces, Spaces and Places, an exhibition based on glass plate negatives, THPLES helps expand access to Houston’s special collections and staff expertise while using its physical and digital spaces for the benefit of an unlimited public. Elizabeth Sargent, Assistant Director for Special Collections and Manager of the library’s Houston Metropolitan Research Center was instrumental in the development of THPLES. She states:
“The Houston Public Library’s Exhibit Snapshot is a tool that helps us fulfill the library’s mission to ‘Link People to the World.’ Exhibit Snapshots for our in-library exhibits complement these exhibits, preserve them in digital format, and enable anyone, anywhere to access them and interact with them.”
THPLES serves as a vehicle for outreach and education, offering virtual tours of library exhibitions, close-ups views of exhibit panels and captions, access to details on individual images and objects and opportunities to ask questions about or comment on the objects and exhibit themes. THPLES also has operational benefits by linking separate functions – preservation, exhibitions and digitization — around a common product and program.