La Tinaja

Launching Local Memory

10 Jan 2019

This morning I finally made the first public link to a project I’ve been working on for two years. It’s finished; Michael and I will continue adding new content and new features, but it is now complete enough to share publicly.

Local Memory: A History of Music in Austin is a public history project we’re presenting as a website. Our first exhibit, Athens on the Colorado, explores the dominance of the university campuses and communities in defining most audiences’ encounter with music performance in the 1930s and 1940s in Austin. This exhibit will continue to expand, and we have started working on our next exhibit as well.

The project also presents a database of performances, artists, and venues. So far, the bulk of the effort around this material has focused on making internal tools to digest and clean up the data. We still have a lot more data to process and pull into the site, but we have enough of a foundation (a little over 2000 performances) to start working with more interesting ways of exploring and presenting the data as well.

On the technical side, I’ve built the site using Gatsby, the React-based static-site builder. It has been a good way to force myself to learn React (and get increasingly comfortable with the modern JavaScript syntax toolchain in general), and I anticipate writing up some of the things I’ve worked on in connection to that as well.

Mostly it feels good to finally be able to give a little oxygen to this project that has been under wraps for so long. It’s exciting to think that now work done on new features will have a much shorter path to entering the wild. (It’s also exciting to see the new time for other personal projects opening in the near future.)