Digital Scholarship

Digitizing the Royal Archives: The Georgian Papers Programme

On September 28, 1833, Prince George FitzClarence, the oldest illegitimate son of King William IV of the United Kingdom, dined on soup, fish, chicken, and beef steak pie at Windsor Castle. On the same day, the housekeepers ate soup, duck, and leg of lamb, and the comptrollers had soup, mutton, and fillet of veal. Detailing the many, often meat heavy, dishes served to the Royal Family and the Royal Household from fall 1833 to spring 1835, this menu book is only one of the thousands of documents from the Royal Archives already uploaded to Georgian Papers Online as part of the Georgian Papers Programme.

Open-Access Publishing: What Authors Should Know

The March 2017 issue of Perspectives on History featured a piece by Seth Denbo, the AHA’s director of scholarly communication and digital initiatives, on the trend of open-access monographs in humanities fields. As Denbo wrote, “A small but growing number of presses have started exploring new economic models that require authors or their institutions to help cover the costs of publishing while simultaneously making their work freely accessible online to readers from around the globe.” One of these is the University of California Press, which through its new initiative, Luminos, has begun publishing open-access books in history. 

Before BuzzFeed: Going Viral in 19th-Century America

In 2005, David Foster Wallace told the graduating class of Kenyon College a joke:

“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, ‘What the hell is water?’”

Using Charters to Teach Medieval History

By Kalani Craig

The lowly charter.

It lives in infamy, perhaps because charters—written records that cemented a variety of agreements about sales, leases, officeholders, and a host of other legal transactions—are simultaneously rich treasure troves of historical information and, when you read a lot of them in a row, sleep-inducing. 

February 23, 2017

A Digital History Fact-Finding Mission to AHA17

By Evan Faulkenbury

On a cold January day, my history department colleagues at the State University of New York at Cortland—Randi Storch and Kevin Sheets—and I set out for the 2017 AHA annual meeting in Denver. We were on a specific mission: to learn as much as possible about digital history in three days. After looking over the program, we counted dozens of relevant panels that incorporated new and exciting digital history scholarship. Randi, Kevin, and I decided to immerse ourselves in these panels, learn as much as we can, and come back to our department with ideas for expanding our digital and public history offerings for students and colleagues. 

February 21, 2017

Tweeting at the Annual Meeting: Results from the AHA17 History Hashtags Drive

Following the 2016 annual meeting in Atlanta, I argued in Perspectives that historians should try and engage in tweeting strategically in order to network most effectively at the meeting. Strategic tweeting includes, among other things, targeting tweets by using the appropriate hashtags. With so many different hashtags for the same subject fluttering about, however, how can historians with common interests reach one another?

Making Connections: Digital History at AHA17

How can digital tools help historians make sense of the Ottoman world, with its 25 languages, 8 alphabets, and a timespan of over 600 years? This is the question posed by the Digital Ottoman Platform (DOP) project, a collaborative effort of scholars working to create, among other resources, a gazetteer of the Ottoman world. The gazetteer will be “an essential tool for studying social and spatial networks in the Ottoman realm.” 

December 29, 2016

Uncovering Activism and Engaging Students: The Colored Conventions Project

For the past 10 years digital archives and crowdsourcing have been popular forms of digital history, as scholars have harnessed the power of both massive servers and a willing public to digitize and transcribe diverse types of historical material ranging from menus to weather reports. Few have excited me as much as Colored Conventions. A work of impressive scholarship, important activism, and valuable pedagogy, the Colored Conventions Project (CCP) hits for the cycle. The primary goal of the CCP is to recover an understudied aspect of the 19th-century reform movement, black conventions.

December 12, 2016