What We’re Reading: May 23, 2013

Today’s What We’re Reading features a re-emergence of the Ithaka S+R report, Wikipedia controversies,” 5 1/2 timeless commencement speeches, and much more.

History in the News
Why Do Historians Insist on Dividing Us?
Sir David Cannadine asks the question in the Chronicle, claiming that while the “idea of the commonality of humanity” is the source of increased study by philosophers, economists, psychologists, sociologists, etc., “Historians, however, have barely begun to engage with this work, or its significance for our understanding of the human condition.”

New Research Tools Kick Up Dust in Archives
The New York Times picks up on the Ithaka S+R report, “Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Historians,” covered by Robert Townsend in the February 2013 issue of Perspectives on History.

Sequestration Forces Cuts to National Social Studies Tests
According to EdWeek, we will know less about how much students know about history, civics, and geography thanks to sequestration: “The executive committee of the National Assessment Governing Board, on the recommendation of the National Center for Education Statistics—which administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP—voted recently to indefinitely postpone the 4th and 12th grade tests in the three subjects for 2014. The exams will continue for 8th graders.”

Haunting Relic of History, Slave Cabin Gets a Museum Home in Washington
Acquisition of a slave cabin from Edisto, South Carolina, adds to Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture’s growing collection of singular artifacts.

Digital Publishing
Wikipedia Controversies
Talking Writing asks, “What Should We Do about Wikipedia?”after anonymous editors systematically moved women authors off the “American Novelists” page and onto a new page devoted to “American Women Novelists.” And in Salon’s “Revenge, Ego and the Corruption of Wikipedia,” an anonymous editor who made some 13,000 edits is unmasked. According to the article, many of his changes were devoted to settling old scores (like changing a rival’s cause of death from “natural causes” to “alcoholism”).

Mapping Diversity, Tolerance, and Hateful Tweets
At the Washington Post’s WorldViews blog, Max Fisher looks at “A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries” and “A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries.” Steve Saideman at Political Violence @ a Glance responds. In “Three University Projects Use Twitter to Understand Happiness, Hate and Other Emotions in America,” Open Culture looks at programs that created, for example, a hate map that shows where tweets with racial and homophobic slurs originate.

Odds and Ends
HBCUs Voice Concerns on Loan Denials
Changes in student loan underwriting may have resulted in greater drop-out rates for students at historically black colleges and universities

Infographic: Five Paths to Book Publishing
Handy guide from the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

5 1/2 Timeless Commencement Speeches to Teach You to Define Your Own Success
Via Brain Pickings, a collection of graduation advice that’s worth hearing no matter  when you finished school.

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