Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Hansen's is now closed for the season. We will reopen next summer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reduced Fall hours

After taking a little time off due to Hurricane Gustav, Hansen's has reopened with reduced hours for the Fall.

The current hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 1pm-7pm.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Online Exhibit Receiving Attention

Since the launch of the Online Exhibit last week, snobliz.com has been noticed by local news sources.

Today an article came out in the Times-Picayune called Hansen's Sno-Blog.

Last week, the Blog of New Orleans (part of the Gambit) made a post about the website and online exhibit.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Poster session

Yesterday was the Capstone Poster session for the iSchool. We each had 90 seconds to present our project and had to make a poster to go with it. I think that the session went very well. I was really happy with how my poster turned out. After watching a few people play with the website, I have a couple of minor changes to make this weekend, which I hope will help with usability.

Sno-Bliz Capstone poster

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Online Exhibit Live

Mary and Ernest HansenI am very excited to announce that the Sno-Bliz Online Exhibit is now live. The Online Exhibit is a a collection of Hansen's Sno-Bliz memorabilia, including photographs, signs, articles, and video.

You can also check out and comment on some of our photographs on our Flickr account and our videos on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So Close

I am so close to launching the Online Exhibit I can almost taste it. As of right now, all of the pages on the site look and behave the way I want them to. I just have a few technical details to work out and some text to polish.

Uploading items to the exhibit is going well. I'm figuring out some pretty cool tricks that I can do with OpenCollection.

I've also run ABBY Fine Reader 8 (an OCR program) on many of the articles and other documents and created PDFs (with mostly clean OCR) for many of them which I'm including in the Exhibit.

If all goes well, I plan to launch the Online Exhibit on Tuesday.

I also decided to simplify my cataloging. I realized that it did not make sense to separate letters from paper documents, so I folded them into the paper documents category. I've updated my Naming Schema to reflect this.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hansen's Tee-Shirts

Hansen's Sno-Bliz Tee-Shirts are back. Printed by local tee-shirt company Dirty Cost, they feature the Hansen's logo (now with triple fleurs-des-lis flag) on a yellow background.

Can't make it to Hansen's this summer? You can buy the tee-shirts online through Dirty Coast's Online Store.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Online Exhibit Preparation Update

I have now gotten both OpenCollection and OpenCollectionAccess (a nice front end for OpenCollection) working on the site. I figured out how to add metadata elements, including Dublin Core. I also figured out lots of other things about how to organize stuff in OpenCollection, which I hope will add ease of browse and functionality to the Online Exhibit.

I also started working on changing the look of OpenCollectionAccess to what I want the Online Exhibit to look like, with some help from my friend Jesse. My friend Maggie pointed out that I need to make sure that the Online Exhibit is obviously a different place than the main site. I think that one of the ways to do this (other than my plan for a top nav and a different break in space for the nav) is to make the roll-over color for images different. The idea is that the color will be the roll over color for "Online Exhibit" on the main site and the "Main Site" link on the Online Exhibit will be blue. I'm thinking about going with a green, since so much of OCA already uses a green color and green is a good sno-ball color. So, the final product will probably look something like this (but I think the green will be darker):
design version 6a

I've uploaded and catalogued about 20 images so far. I even re-purposed one of the OC fields to link to a Flickr image of the object, and only show up on display if I've uploaded the image to Flickr. And I figured out how to make Flickr link back to the Online Exhibit. I'm really excited about this as I hope people will use either Flickr or email to let us know more about the pictures that we know almost nothing about.

As of right now, everything is locked up because I don't want people seeing an unfinished product. I hope to be able to launch everything in a week to a week and a half.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Main site live

I am happy to announce that the entirety of the main Hansen's Sno-Bliz website has gone live. On it you can now find hours, directions, a list of flavors, and a brief history of the snoball stand.

The Online Exhibit is not live yet, but will be coming in the next few weeks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


After almost a week of trying to figure out everything that needed to be done to start running OpenCollection on SnoBliz.com, it is finally working. Now I can get to the fun part - uploading and cataloging everything that I digitized last month and setting up the Online Exhibit to look just how I want it to. I'm really excited about this. I currently have the directory hidden, but as soon as I get it where I want it, I'll make it public.

A huge thanks to Jen and Thomas at drak.net, Seth at OpenCollection.org, and my really good friend Jesse Martinez. I couldn't have done this with out all of y'all.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Robbery at Hansen's

Hansen's was robbed last Friday at closing time. You can read details about it in the Times-Picayune article "Coldblooded character sticks up snowball stand". Everyone is fine, just a little shaken.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sno-Bliz gets blogged

Here are some posts about Hansen's Sno-Bliz from the past two months or so:

In Praise of the Sno-Ball by Edward Branley

New Thing #86: Josiah's Own by Lauren Elizabeth

Picture Perfect...Summertime Fun by Tallulah

Southern Belly: Hansen's Sno Bliz in New Orleans by John T. Edge, posted by Ed Levine

NOLA Travelogue: Parasol’s and Hansen’s Sno-Bliz by Pontchartrain Pete

Taste of New Orleans by Thy Tran

Who Dat?! A Wedding in New Orleans… by Keri Doolittle

What A Weekend by Miss Dante'

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scanning done

I finished scanning everything yesterday. I have the exact totals at my finger tips, but I ended up scanning on site 1 cup design, a few letters/short-stories/poems, several business documents (like business cards and gift certificates), about 70 photographs, and 5 articles from magazines or newspapers (one was 12 pages long). I also took a bunch of digital photography for the website and the fun of it. I wasn't able to take shots for a QTVR panorama because I didn't have a tripod. But I hope to be able to make one for them at some point in the future (if one doesn't get made for this project).

I finalized the main website design and am mostly done building the whole thing on a test server. I still need to get content from Ashley.

Also, I mocked up a look for the online exhibit part of the site. I like it and Ashley does too.

Online Exhibit Version 1:
Online Exhibit Mockup v1

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two days of scanning

I've spent the past two days at Hansen's Sno-Bliz scanning photographs and other items. So far we have a total of 49 digitized items, 40 of them photographs. All photograph and text items are being scanned in 24 bit color and at 400 ppi using a Brother MFC-465CN scanner.

For some reason the scanner is tinting everything slightly red, although the amount of red tint seems to vary. I made sure that my monitor was well calibrated, but it still happens, so I'm pretty sure it's not my monitor. I'm getting good at color correcting for red.

The process generally goes like this: place photograph on scanner which already has the color bar on it (add the grey scale color bars to scanner if it is a black and white photo). From the Photoshop file menu open "Brother TWAIN", pre-scan the image, select the area to scan, wait for image to scan. Immediately save tiff version of image as preservation copy. Color correct photo using eyes and color bar, rotate image so that it is straight, crop down to just around image. Save as tiff access copy. Catalogue image as best as possible (including measurements of original photo).

I'm getting pretty fast at this. I scanned 26 photographs today (and I even took a break to have a Cream of Ice Cream snoball).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Site design again

Ok, after talking with Ashley and our designer and thinking about the flow of information, here is my most recent version of the website design.

Version 6a
design version 6a

I changed the name of "archive" to "online exhibit" because FA2 pointed out that while archive is a trendy term, online exhibit is more accurate. I also decided to move the memorial page to a special page of the online exhibit, so we can easily use scanned pictures of Mary and Ernest Hansen. I also added a Contact page that will have more detailed information than what is in the footer. I decided that with these changes only one box was needed to contain them.

Furthermore, I changed the border from the little snoballs (which really wasn't working) to a rounded edged rectangular section border. I've decided that I am much happier with that than with the snoballs. I also changed the color of "Hansen's Sno-Bliz" to the same pink as the default nav color. It's subtle, but I like it.

Naming Schema for Hansen's Sno-Bliz Digitized Files

Basic naming schema


sb = this is the code for all files to keep the set together.
xx = Two letter code to represent the original source*
9999 = number in which item was scanned. Numbering system is reset for each major type of item
x = type of digital file (preservation, access, derivative)**

*Working list of Two Letter Codes after preliminary assessment:

CodeResource Type
arNewspaper/Magazine Article
auAudio Recording
cg Collage of Photographs (scanned as one item)
cpCup Image (Opaque or Transparency)
doPaper documents (such as business cards and letters)
dp Digital photograph (photograph was born digital)
vd Video Recording (either digitized or born digital)

**Types of digital files

A minimum of three digital files will be created for each digitized item. The raw totally unedited file is considered the preservation file and will have a 'p' at the end of the file name. A raw slightly edited (eg., color corrected, color bars removed, straightened) version of the file is considered the access file and will have an 'a' at the end of the file name. Any further modifications to the file (eg., shrinking, change of ppi, change of size, change of file type) is considered a derivative file and will have a 'd' at the end of the file.

If an item has to be scanned in parts, then there will be a letter after each part of the preservation file. The access file should be one complete file of the full stitched together image.

If there are multiple versions of a derivative file, each version will have a letter after the code, da, db, etc. The collage of photographs, the intent is to place the whole image and then detailed images of each photo online. For this purpose, each single photo section will have a two digit number after the letter d, d01, d02, d03, etc. Numbers will move from top-to-bottom and left-to-right across the collage.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I'm back in Austin and I've started doing some digitization. Early this morning I had an appointment with the UT Library Digitization services and they digitized three of the large laminated photo collages for me. I'm really excited about those (and not only because I'm in one of them). My plan is to put up the entire image, but also break them up into smaller sections and place them on Flickr. Hopefully we'll be able to find out some of the people that we don't know.

Now I'm in the Lab digitizing some video. Two of the videos contained the same content from the Food Network, but the other one was a home movie from the early 90s that someone took while waiting online for a snoball one day.

I still need to come up with a naming schema. I hope to figure one out before next week when I start scanning the photos at the store (good thing my color bars from Amazon.com came in yesterday).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Prep-week update

This has been a busy first full week on this project. I spent most of it doing prep work so that once I get started, everything will run smoothly.

I have met with archivists from Loyola, Tulane, and Historic New Orleans to see if they are interested in the collection and if the collection would be a good fit. I hope to have the archivists from Loyola and HNO come look at what we have before making a recommendation to Ashley.

Ashley and I also met with a graphic designer to talk about logos, design, and branding. She's going to take a look at the website design, so I hope that she has some good suggestions for me soon.

I also spent a lot of time setting up things so that I can start really working on stuff. I helped Ashley purchase equipment both for the shop and for this project and then set it all up so that it works on both of our computers (we both use Macs, which makes everything really easy).

Young Ashley making a Sno-BlizAs part of testing some of the new equipment, I scanned my first photo for this project. This is a very young Ashley making a snoball with her grandmother Mary and father Jerry watching. The color is somewhat off. I ordered a set of color bars from Adorama.com, but they won't come in until next week. I may rescan the photo after they come in.

I am currently in the process of setting up the backend of the website. Furthermore, I started a Flickr account and a Hansen's Sno-Bliz Flickr Group, which already has a few members. I've added a widget to this blog to display random photos from the group.

I have also started thinking about metadata and file naming conventions for the online exhibit.

The next step is to start going through the collection and select fun things to digitize.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Capstone thoughts

I will be heading to New Orleans next week to get officially started on my Capstone. During this time I hope to meet with people from the archives I've been in contact with, meet with the graphic designer to help design the look of the web pages, figure out the web hosting for snobliz.com, and pick out items for the prototype online exhibit.

For the online exhibit, I talked with Fac. Advisor the other day about a scope for the prototype and this is what we agreed on (all numbers are approximate:
  • A variety of 50 images including (but not limited to)
    • A few celebrity photos
    • One or two transparencies of cup designs
    • A few photos from Post-hurricanes
    • Some from of the store itself
    • Regular customers in the shop
  • One or two oversized laminated collages
  • 10 old newspaper articles
  • A small sample of audio and visual material (amount depends on length)
  • A few QuickTime VR shots (one of interior of store, maybe one of flavor bottle)
I'm really excited about this project. I need to figure out how to acquire a set of color bars for scanning purposes and a tripod attachment for QTVR shots.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Now Open

Hansen's Sno-Bliz is now open for the summer.

Currently the hours are Tuesday-Sunday 1pm-7pm.

See you there!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Contacting Archives

I've started to contact several of the archives in New Orleans. So far I have gotten responses from Historic New Orleans and Loyola. I'm still waiting to hear back from Tulane. Responses so far have been positive.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Nectar Cream Video

I was browsing the internet for Hansen's Sno-Bliz and I found this really touching video by Derek Toten from the Digital Storytelling Workshop hosted by Tulane Universiy, March 17-19, 2008.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Two more designs

After talking with my capstone advisor about the design, he proposed the idea of having the nav bar only on the left, so I tried it.

Version 5a: Same breakup of nav as before, all on the left.
design version 5a

Version 5b: Nav on the left, second box broken up into two boxes.
design version 5b

After looking at both of these, I still think I like Version 4 better.
design version 4

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Final design?

I think I am finally happy with the basic site design! After talking with friends and doing the environmental scan, I decided to make it much more "fun" looking.

Design Version 4 (hopefully final, minus small tweaks)
design version 4

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Environmental Scan

Since I'm still not happy with the website design, I've decided to do an environmental scan to see what else is out there for snowball stand websites. I couldn't really find any, so I broadened my search to ice cream stands as well. The criteria that I had was that the site had to be for a pure stand (not ice cream + tourist or farm or something like that) and the site was not done in flash.

Snowcone stands:New Orleans Ice Cream Stands:
  • Brocatos - Really pulls in their color scheme nicely, but more about their mail-order business than the store
  • Creole Creamery - Good site, wish it was centered instead of left aligned. I like that they have all the flavors listed. Address and hours at the bottom of site is nice. Also like the that the ice cream cones are aligned left and the words are aligned right, also wraps text which looks nice and is, in fact, very readable. Fun and young looking.
Ice Cream Stands elsewhere:
  • Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream - Like that they have a calendar. Don't like that the side pictures take forever to load and that the navigation is not carried through from page to page. Looks more "businessy" than ice cream-ish
  • Gifford's Ice Cream - Love the "old time" look for the logo and menu and site in general. Expanding menu...don't think I'll need it, but I like the way they break up the information about the business. Also have a section for press releases.
  • Gray's Ice Cream - Very simple site. Map to stand.

Points to take away from all of this (and other thoughts)
  • Make sure site conveys the nature of the business. Is too "businessy" right now. Make it more fun.
  • Having a list of flavors is not only a good idea, it's industry standard for this type of site
  • Calendar - either list constant hours somewhere or have a calendar. Look into embedding one from Google - makes it more dynamic/easy to update
  • Links page or press-releases page for articles that are on the web already.
  • Link to this blog?
  • Change hours to hours & location and include a map (from Google maps?)
Well, that's a lot to think about. Time to rework some stuff, now that I have some better ideas. I'll add more sites to the list if I come across any.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Home page design version 3

After talking with Ashley, I came up with a modification to the site design, mostly having to do with the logo. I found a font that is very close to the Hansen's logo on their tee-shirts and am now going to be using that. I'm debating if I want the navigation menus in the same font.

Version 3.1

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I'm looking into archives in which we can donate a large portion of the memorabilia that has been collected at Hansen's Sno-Bliz over its 70 years of business. I've narrowed it down to two places: the Special Collections at Tulane Libraryand the Historic New Orleans Collection. From what I can tell, both collections are interested in New Orleans Cuisine and I don't think you can get much more New Orleans than Hansen's. The next step is to contact the curators and see which one is more interested.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Home page designs

I've been working on the home page design. I have a basic concept, but am trying to refine the details. Here are the different versions I have so far. I'm partial to version 2, although none of the permutations of it are completely satisfying to me. All images open to larger versions in a new tab/window.

Version 1.5a (large title and menu, delineations of space with straight black lines):

Version 1.5b (large title and menu, delineations of space with black lines, menus in a box):

Version 2.1 (small title and menu, delineations of space with straight black lines):

Version 2.2 (small title and menu, delineations of space with straight grey lines):

Version 2.3 (small title and menu, delineations of space with straight grey lines, lines are slightly thicker with a bit of shape to them):

I also thought about lining up the images in the side menus, but I'm not sure about it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First Post

This blog was created as part of a Capstone experience for the School of Information at the University of Texas Austin. The goal of the Capstone is two fold: 1. Create a website for Hansen's Sno-Bliz and 2. Create a prototype of an online archive of Hansen's Sno-Bliz memorabilia. The second part of this project is going to be the more extensive and difficult part, but hopefully the end will be rewarding.

I am going to be using this space to hash out ideas and give updates about the project. Hopefully, it will one day also be used to provide news about goings on at Hansen's, links to news articles about the business, interesting addtions to the archive, and the like.