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digital history


  • Originally published 01/27/2014

    Why I Despise @HistoryInPics

    @HistoryInPics and similar Twitter streams post “old” pictures and little tidbits of captions for them. That's it. No attribution, no link, no context, and a casual relationship to the truth.

  • Originally published 08/14/2013

    Lincoln Mullen: How to Make Prudent Choices About Your Digital Tools

    Abraham Lincoln (almost certainly never) said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening my ax.” Whoever came up with it, that bit of folksy wisdom neatly captures an ambiguity about work. You’d be a fool to work with a dull ax, but being shrewd about your preparations can quickly turn into being lazy about actually doing your work.

  • Originally published 07/09/2013

    AHA Today highlights digital history projects

    Jennifer Reut is associate editor of the AHA magazine Perspectives.With the recent proliferation of the digital humanities (DH) in and outside the academy, we thought it might be useful to draw attention to the kinds of projects historians are developing. The National Endowment of the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities (NEH-ODH) has been an early and substantial supporter of projects and workshops across the DH community, so it made sense to look at the recent round of NEH-ODH grantees as a way of highlighting recent work by historians.True to the nature of DH, many of the projects are broadly applicable to scholarship in the humanities, rather than just history, particularly those that construct platforms or environments for data and artifact sharing, analysis, and publication. We’ve focused on a few that were either specifically designed by historians or with an obvious application to historical studies, but we encourage you to view the full range of past and present grants at the NEH-ODH site and explore some of the other projects for possible intersection with your own interests and research.Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, which we are featuring here, are smaller grants for projects that are still in the planning or prototype stage. Wherever possible, we have used the text from the grantees description.

  • Originally published 06/17/2013

    Stephen Robertson, digital-history expert to lead new-media center

    Stephen Robertson, an associate professor of history at the University of Sydney, will be the new director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Mr. Robertson, 45, was a postdoctoral fellow in George Mason's department of history and art history from 1998 to 1999. He will begin his new job in July.Among Mr. Robertson's collaborative works is Digital Harlem, an interactive account of everyday life in that neighborhood in the early 1900s. The project won the American Historical Association's Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History in 2009 and an online-history award from a division of the American Library Association in 2011....

  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    38,000 historical maps at DPLA

    More than three decades ago, David Rumsey began building a map collection. By the mid-90s he had thousands and thousands of maps to call his own -- and his alone. He wanted to share them with the public.He could have donated them to the Library of Congress, but Rumsey had even bigger ideas: the Internet. "With (some) institutions, the access you can get is not nearly as much as the Internet might provide," Rumsey told Wired more than a decade ago. "I realized I could reach a much larger audience with the Internet."Bit by bit, Rumsey digitized his collection -- up to 38,000 maps and other items -- along the way developing software that made it easier for people to explore the maps and 3D objects such as globes online. Today, the Digital Public Library of America announced that Rumsey's collection would now be available through the DPLA portal, placing the maps into the deeper and broader context of the DPLA's other holdings....

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    "Cities are the Living Embodiments of Past Decisions"

     Children in wading pool at Cascade Playground, Seattle, 1939. All photos credit Seattle Museum of History and Industry.Stories about place are makeshift things. They are composed with the world’s debris.--Michel de CerteauIn most undergraduate history classes, students are required to take tests and write a paper or two.But University of Washington history professor Dr. Margaret O’Mara wanted to tap into her students’ curiosity and their relationship with the web and technology for her history of U.S. Cities course last winter.To bring urban history to life for her students and encourage them to explore and see their world in new ways, Dr. O’Mara created an innovative project that focused on Seattle’s dynamic South Lake Union neighborhood, now an area of high-tech businesses, medical clinics, trendy eateries, and pricey real estate.

  • Originally published 03/28/2013

    Professor digitizing centuries-old records that reveal tales of Florida’s first residents

    ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Inside a Catholic convent deep in St. Augustine’s historic district, stacks of centuries-old, sepia-toned papers offer clues to what life was like for early residents of the nation’s oldest permanently occupied city.These parish documents date back to 1594, and they record the births, deaths, marriages and baptisms of the people who lived in St. Augustine from that time through the mid-1700s. They’re the earliest written documents from any region of the United States, according to J. Michael Francis, a history professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.Francis and some of his graduate students in the Florida Studies department have spent the past several months digitizing the more than 6,000 fragile pages to ensure the contents last beyond the paper’s deterioration.

  • Originally published 07/03/2014

    Hobby Lobby Ruling Falls Short

    As far as it went, the Supreme Court generally got it right in the Hobby Lobby-Obamacare-contraception case. Unfortunately it didn’t go nearly far enough.

  • Originally published 06/20/2014

    Thaddeus Stevens and Colonization

    Did Rep. Thaddeus Stevens pledge to support the revival of the colonization office during Lincoln’s second term? That is the direct insinuation of an unsent letter from 1865 bearing the Radical Republican leader’s endorsement.

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