What We’re Reading: May 26, 2011 Edition

Congressional CemeteryWe begin this week with the news that Google has ended its newspaper digitization project. Read also about an AP U.S. history teacher’s efforts to bring current events back into the classroom, the Bard’s thoughts on the recent study on the median salaries for undergraduate majors, a report about the decline of Western Civilization classes, and improving metadata by making it a game. Then, discover the histories of those who rest in the 60,000 graves in the Congressional Cemetery, and check out GE ads from the 1900s. Finally, just for fun, discover a few titles in historical fiction for young adults.

News

  • Google Ends Newspaper Digitization Project
    Five years and 60 million digitized pages from when it first began, Google is ending its newspaper digitization project, reports The Chronicle. What they’ve currently digitized will remain available for free online, but no new pages will be added. Learn more here and here.

Insights

  • Current Events in the Classroom
    The New York Times profiles AP U.S. history teacher Chris Doyle, who, after his students complete their AP exams, teaches them about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, creating his own curriculum since these events aren’t yet in the textbooks.  See alsoDoyle’s cornerstone essay for the teaching controversial issues in the history classroom theme in the May 2010 issue of Perspectives on History.
  • Shakespeare’s Thoughts on Recent Study
    William Shakespeare weighs in on a new study from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University (which was featured in a blog post here yesterday). He refutes the idea that the “choice of a major is a black-and-white decision” and praises the critical thinking and writing skills the humanities teach.
  • Western Civilization Classes Disappearing
    Inside Higher Ed examines a recent report about the declining numbers of Western Civ classes at colleges, and interviews AHA President Anthony Grafton for his perspective.
  • Metadata as a Game
    Jennifer Howard at The Chronicle discusses Metadata Games, “an experiment in harnessing the power of the crowd to create archival metadata.”

Looking Back

  • Finding History in the Congressional Cemetery
    Washingtonian looks to the 60,000 graves in the Congressional Cemetery and unearths the stories they can tell.
  • GE Ads since the Early 1900s
    GE recently put together a slideshow of their ads from the 1900s on their site and on Flickr.

Fun

  • Historical Fiction for Young Adults
    The Washington Post’s commuter paper Express offered book suggestions for young adult readers last week.  Check out the historical fiction category, which highlights Between Shades of Gray (in which a 16-year-old Lithuanian girl must survive a Siberian labor camp during WWII), Revolution (about a teen girl and the French Revolution), and Falling in Love With English Boys (a love story that stems from an 1815 diary). While these books may not be classroom-worthy, they could be great for the beach and lead to sparked interest and future inquiry into different historical eras.

Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, and Pillarisetti Sudhir

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  1. Richard J Salvucci

    Remember all the fuss the historians of Mexico raised about Google, Paper of Record, and the dangers inherent in Google’s business model? Don’t say you weren’t warned. They just used us as Guinea Pigs—because no one cares about Mexican history, right?

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