Starting off this week we turn to the Google Books Ngram Viewer, a new online tool from Google that allows you to search keywords and phrases in their database of 5.2 million digitized books. The New York Times, Dan Cohen, and T. Mills Kelly have spent some time with the viewer and lend their thoughts. Then, check out a roundup of images: a past and present photo contest from the National Archives, Alaska images from Smithsonian, and WWII Christmas-themed propaganda, also from NARA.
Three articles start off What We’re Reading this week. First, the Chronicle examines history of science professor Robert N. Proctor’s fight to keep his unpublished manuscript private. Then, Wired critiques Google’s Usenet Archive, and Google responds. And finally, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at Norman Rockwell’s paintings of the “four essential freedoms.” From the blogosphere, Laura Wimberley at ACRLog looks at budget cuts in higher ed while the GeneologyBlog worries about Indiana’s State Archives. Meanwhile, from the opinion columns, we bring you thoughts on Walmart and the Wilderness Battlefield, as well as one take on Tarentino’s Inglourious Basterds.
New this week, some Iowa history classrooms are embracing primary resources over textbooks, a British man and his metal detector unearth seventh-century treasures, the Gilder Lehrman Institute releases an issue of History Now on the American Revolution, the National Security Archive joins Facebook, and Google Books features every issue of LIFE ever published. Then, we bring you two articles on NARA: one on NARA’s proposal (and request for public comments) to issue researcher ID cards, and the other on NARA documents on Footnote.com.
The Google News Timeline, introduced by Google this past April, creates a visual and interactive chronological view of recent and historical events. It pulls data from Google news, digitized magazines and newspapers, blogs, sports scores, Wikipedia, and Freebase.
The default view of the Google News Timeline displays just two built-in queries (pulling from Wikipedia and Time magazine), but users can create their own queries, then mix and match them to generate results. Queries can range as broadly as any search keyword, from the scholarly (the Fort Pillow massacre), to the entertaining (Jack Nicholson movies), to the curious (baseball news photos).
The Google Books discussion (the pros and cons, the settlement) rages on, and this week we bring you two new articles on the matter. Then, the recent death of Senator Ted Kennedy has brought a lot of media attention, and a renewed look at the history of the Kennedy family. And finally, we link to the relaunch of the BBC History Magazine, a new take on Martha Ballard’s diary, 20 interesting maps, an archives on the web contest, and finally a president tracker.
A recent article in the New York Times on “traditional history courses” has created a bit of a stir in the blogosphere. We start off this post by linking to the article and some responses. Then, check out Michele Lamont’s view of the field of history, read about a new college for history only, and listen to a layman’s approach to historic preservation. And finally, see historic newspapers on the Library of Congress Flickr page, read a critique of Google Books, learn seven lesser-known Civil War stories, revisit a two-century-old mystery, and learn about the life of Gypsy Rose Lee.
The staff at Google have now posted information about the status of the newspapers obtained from the Paper of Record. As we reported last month, a number of members were deeply distressed after these materials were taken off line and they could not find out about their status.
According to a member of the Google staff, 4.91 million articles from 522 titles obtained from Paper of Record are now live on Google News Archive search (though he adds the caveat that “all articles from these titles may not be comprehensively available, but will otherwise be made available in browse-only mode within 3 months.”)
Another half million additional pages from 381 titles are projected to be available in “browse-only mode within 3 months.” These materials “were of low quality, and we were therefore unable to get quality text after following the OCR process.
In the current economy there has been a lot of attention on the housing bubble bursting, and in the first article we link to this week two authors from the Chronicle ask, “Will Higher Education be the Next Bubble to Burst?” Also looking at the future and universities, Phil Pochoda considers what’s in store for university presses. We also link to two Civil War related pieces: thoughts on the centennial commemoration with an eye toward the Civil War sesquicentennial, and a look at women who fought in the Civil War.