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.
This month’s Perspectives on History, now in the mail and online, features a look back, through articles and photos, at the 127th annual meeting in New Orleans. A photo essay by Chris Hale displays some of the best images captured at the meeting, and many more are available now for tagging and viewing on our Facebook page.
AHA President Kenneth Pomeranz makes the case for going to the next annual meetings in his column. Beyond the benefits of hearing new ideas and seeing old friends, there’s a new sense of urgency at these meetings due to transformations in the job market, publishing, research, and the political environments.
How have digital resources affected the research practices of historians? What research services do historians need but can’t find? Ithaka S+R recently attempted to find answers to such questions and published a report that provides a deep analysis of the current research practices of historians, and current models for research services emerging on campuses in the United States. Based upon interviews with archivists, historians, and librarians, the Ithaka survey found that “the underlying research methods of many historians remain fairly recognizable even with the introduction of new tools and technologies, but the day to day research practices of all historians have changed fundamentally.”
For quick look at the survey’s main findings, begin with the executive summary, which lists a series of recommendations for improved information services for libraries and archives, history departments, and scholarly societies.