What We’re Reading: November 29, 2007 Edition

This week we note two newsworthy articles: protests over a talk by Holocaust denier David Irving, and historians (including two past AHA presidents) endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. From “First Monday” we find professor Richard Cox discussing the effects of new technologies on archives. And finally, what makes a good historical novel? Watch a webcast from the Library of Congress with historical fiction writer David L. Robbins.

  • Protesters Delay but Fail to Derail Holocaust Denier’s Appearance
    The Chronicle’s News Blog recounts the controversy and protests over David Irving, a British historian and convicted Holocaust denier, who spoke at the Oxford Union this past Monday, November 26th.
  • Historians Team Up to Back Obama
    Inside Higher Ed reports on a group of historians’ “joint endorsement of Barack Obama’s bid for presidency,” posted on HNN on this past Monday, November 26th. The AHA wasn’t officially a part of this endorsement, and we mention it here because of the uniqueness of a group of historians backing a specific political candidate, and the notable historians in this group, including two past AHA presidents: Joyce Appleby, University of California at Los Angeles, and James McPherson, Princeton University. Be sure to check out the comments (many quite animated) at the end of the article.
  • Machines in the archives
    Richard Cox and a number of his students at the University of Pittsburgh offer a terrific summary of the transformative effective of new technologies on archival practices over at First Monday. Their survey ranges over new problems (such as preserving massive volumes of e-mail messages), new ways of reaching out to and communicating with users (and watching what they are up to), and potentially new ways of providing access to materials. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of our archive-based discipline. (Hat tip)
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Historical Fiction
    In this webcast lecture from the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book, historical fiction writer David L. Robbins talks about his book The Assassins Gallery. But more importantly he discusses “the building blocks of historical novels,” including “the importance of research, the role of time and place, narrative pacing and character development.”
  • New York Public Library Buys Schlesinger Papers
    The New York Times reports that Arthur Schlesinger’s family sold “280 linear feet “of the late scholar’s papers to the NY Public Library. The documents include personal journals, correspondence with numerous presidents, diplomats, public celebrities, and many others.

Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, Robert Townsend

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