Digitizing Agricultural Heritage: an App About Swedish Apples (Booth 4)

Aron Ambrosiani, Nordiska museet, Sweden, Robert Ziherl, Nordiska museet (The Nordic Museum), Sweden

Nordiska museet is Sweden’s largest museum of cultural history. At Julita Manor, a country estate of 360 buildings across 2,200 hectares, the focus is on the history of Swedish agriculture. As part of a national gene bank, Julita’s orchard contains about 240 apple trees representing more than 100 different cultivars.

In October 2014, Nordiska museet will release the app Svenska äpplen (“Swedish Apples”). Our aim is to spread knowledge about the different apple cultivars grown in Sweden, and to increase interaction between different apple tree owners and apple enthusiasts in Sweden.

Apples are difficult to identify using image recognition. Many cultivars look similar, but differ in taste or ripening. We decided to use a set of five multiple choice questions to filter our list of 115 different apple cultivars, displaying the remaining results as a list.

In addition to sharing content, users have two different possibilities to interact: uploading Instagram photos of apples and placing their own apple trees on a map. The photos are then gathered using custom hashtags.

Apple cultivars have a rich cultural history. Through the descriptions of each apple, a story is told of international exchange, local varietes, state-funded experimental horticulture and increasing knowledge of heredity and genetics. Increased knowledge about the history of apples might also increase interest about biological diversity and human impact on the environment.

The apple metadata is stored in a Drupal installation. The “apple” content type contains several specific metadata fields used to identify apple cultivars, for instance shape, color and ripening. The metadata is fetched into the iOS app and to the android app/responsive web site through an API.

Nilsson, Anton, Våra äpplesorter: deras historia, egenskaper och kännetecken, 1. ed., Nordiska museet, Stockholm, 1986. http://libris.kb.se/bib/7262650
Nancy Proctor on Leafsnap: http://smithsonian-webstrategy.wikispaces.com/Leafsnap2
Leafsnap dataset: http://leafsnap.com/dataset/
List of apple cultivars, English Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apple_cultivars
List of apple cultivars, Swedish Wikipedia (this list overlaps with the apples presented in the app): https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lista_%C3%B6ver_%C3%A4ppelsorter
Museum Victoria Field Guides: http://mwa2013.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/moving-outside-the-boundaries-how-museums-can-engage-audiences-beyond-their-walls/
Museum Victoria Genera Project: http://www.museumsandtheweb.com/mw2012/papers/creating_a_mobile_app_ecosystem_the_genera_pro.html
Swedish fruit tree maps: http://fruktkartan.se/ http://www.pallafrukt.se/
Example tag search, #nm_signetillisch: http://iconosquare.com/tag/nm_signetillisch/
International apple tree register: http://www.orangepippin.com/trees.aspx

Mentioned Apps
Leafsnap: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/leafsnap/id430649829?mt=8
Leafsnap UK: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/leafsnap-uk/id877397884?mt=8
Opal Bugs Count: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/opal-bugs-count-pocket-id/id462166466?mt=8
Field Guide, Victorian Fauna: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/field-guide-to-victorian-fauna/id423945031?mt=8
Field Guide, Bunurong Marine National Park: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bunurong-marine-national-park/id573449047?mt=8
Field Guide, Northern Territory: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/field-guide-to-northern-territory/id859679523?mt=8
Field Guide, Capital Territory https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/field-guide-to-australian/id867395324?mt=8
Perennials (“Perenner”, in Swedish): https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/perenner/id395964584?mt=8
Fish (”Fisknyckeln”, in Swedish): https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/fisknyckeln/id661056370?mt=8
Fungi (”Svampguiden”, in Swedish): https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/svampguiden/id377019556?mt=8
Map of Fruit Trees (“Fruktkartan”, in Swedish): https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/fruktkartan/id548283257?mt=8