What We’re Reading: October 25, 2007 Edition

Digital is the buzzword in this edition of “What We’re Reading.” Check out articles on digitization projects at the Library of Congress as well as at libraries across the country. Then read about a Harvard Professor’s methods on integrating “digital innovation and scholarship” in his classroom. See also articles on the historical value of photos, Wikpedia’s anonymous editors, IRBs in Iraq, and more memories of Roy Rosenzweig.

  • Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web
    This article, from Monday’s New York Times, tellsabout libraries trying to set their own strategies for digital preservation of materials, and offers an interesting survey of the issues and players involved. Those concerned about access to the materials of the past in the digital future should give the article a look.
  • Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
    Also in the New York Times, readers can find a fascinating three-part series dissecting the historical value of photographic evidence. The series is authored by Errol Morris, a documentary filmmaker, who was intrigued enough about conflicting readings of two photos from the Crimean War that he spent months trying to solve the puzzle. The result is a report on the detective work side of history that attracted so many of us to the discipline.
  • Wikipedia’s ‘Good Samaritans’
    The Chronicle’s Wired Campus Blog reports on a new study that shows despite public distrust of anonymity on the Internet, anonymous editors on Wikipedia are by and large making good revisions and contributions to the site.
  • Are IRB’s Needed For War Zones?
    Institutional Review Board (IRB) regulation is a contentious issue in the humanities (see past AHA Today post “The Problem with IRBs”).  This article from Inside Higher Ed takes the battle against IRBs to the actual battlefield, and asks whether there needs to be more oversight over anthropologists doing work in Iraq.
  • Library of Congress and UNESCO Sign World Digital Library Agreement
    The Library of Congress has posted a press release on their new cooperative effort with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to create a World Digital Library that would showcase digitized “unique and rare materials from libraries and other cultural institutions around the world and make them available for free on the Internet.”
  • Harvard Humanities Students Discover the 17th Century Online
    Read about Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt’s digital twist to his "Travel and Transformation in the Early 17th Century" course. The Chronicle’s Jennifer Howard explains that, “[w]ith its blend of digital innovation and scholarship, ‘Travel and Transformation’ may be the humanities course of the future.” Hat tip.
  • Thanks, Roy
    This new site provides a place for the many friends and colleagues of the late Roy Rosenzweig to continue to share memories and moments of his life.

Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Robert Townsend.

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