GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) are often used to hold small, short animations. They can also be used to show short ‘slideshows’ as a lightweight way of adding interest to a website or to include instead of a still image on social media.

RG Spaces used this technique to respond to a university student’s call for tweets on the subject of people as part of her #Reading21 heritage project. Images of half a dozen historic figures associated with the town were put into gif form (see Six Reading historic figures) with a reasonable pause between each to give the feeling of a mini slide show.

The format could be used in an activity as a simple way of visitors creating their own minislideshow using photos they have taken themselves, or to produce quirky animations simply (see for example Adam’s self portrait – or a historic bridge.

The techie stuff – there are many ways of creating GIFs, including online services and locally-run apps such as Photoshop. There is open-source software for producing gifs within the user’s browser and iMuse has put a version online. Iyou go to GIF andright click you can view the source, download it and replace the images with your own.