October 14, 2010
We start off this week with matters of the history profession, linking to a question from Dan Cohen about scholarly society meetings, a report from The Wall Street Journal on how satisfied history majors are with their careers, and an article from The Chronicle about the risks of citing digital sources. Read also about the ongoing legal effort to unseal Nixon’s grand jury testimony and hear what the American History Guys say about the history of the U.S./Mexico border. Next we look to news and articles on some online resources. The National Archives has announced a new plan to post documents of the Founders for free to the public, the DCRA is putting D.C. maps that span a century on Flickr, the Transcribe Bentham project looks for transcription help, Robert Darnton lobbies for a national digital library, and the Freer Gallery of Art displays some ancient bibles. Finally, we check out some recent books (and book events) and have some fun with The Onion and ancient Greece.
- What Should Scholarly Society Meetings Look Like in the 2010s?
Dan Cohen, a member of the AHA’s 2012 Program Committee, is soliciting suggestions for new and innovative panels (in form, as much as content).
- Psych Majors Aren’t Happy With Options
The Wall Street Journal reports that 44 percent of history majors are satisfied with their current career path. Not great, but a lot better than psychology majors (where on 26 percent expressed similar satisfaction).
- A Modern Scholar’s Ailments: Link Rot and Footnote Flight
Jennifer Howard at The Chronicle takes a look at the dangers of digital scholarship, mainly when links stop leading to the resources you’ve cited.
- Historians Try to Break the Seal on Nixon’s Grand Jury Testimony
Also from Jennifer Howard at The Chronicle, coverage of the historians and scholarly societies (including the AHA), attempting to unseal Nixon’s testimony. See also, “Historians Want Court To Unseal Nixon Testimony,” the AHA Council’s decision to support this legal effort, an article from the Richard Nixon Foundation, as well as the actual text of the petition.
- Borderlands and Bordered Lands
The most recent podcast from BackStory with the American History Guys takes a look at the history of the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The next podcast in the works is on the history of partisanship in politics.
- National Archives to Put the Founders Online
The National Archives is joining forces with the University of Virginia “to make freely available online the historical documents of the Founders of the United States of America.”
- DCRA To Open Treasure Chest Of Historical Maps On Flickr
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has “maps and plats chronicling the history of the District of Columbia going back more than a century” and they’ll be adding them to their Flickr account over the course of the next few weeks and months.
- Transcribe Bentham
The Transcribe Bentham project is an attempt to transcribe the manuscripts of philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) by harnessing the power of the masses on the internet. Through a Transcription Desk tool online, visitors can help transcribe material from facsimile images of Bentham’s previously unpublished manuscripts.
- One Step Closer to a National Digital Library
Jennifer Howard at The Chronicle recentlyinterviewed historian Robert Darnton about his ideas for "a Digital Public Library of America.” This idea, of a national digital library, has been tried in the Netherlands, France, and Japan.
- In the Beginning: Bibles Before the Year 1000
The Freer Gallery of Art has a new book and online resource on bibles from before the year 1000.
- 2010 National Book Festival Sights and Sounds
The Library of Congress looks back on this year’s National Book Festival through webcasts of authors discussing their work and images from the varied events.
- Lincoln’s Evolving Thoughts On Slavery, And Freedom
NPR takes a look at past AHA president Eric Foner’s new book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.
- If Walls Could Talk
Comedic author Bill Bryson has released his most recent book, “At Home: A Short History of Private Life,” taking a look at the history furniture, buttons, vitamins and more.
- Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks
Satirical newspaper The Onion, reports that a group of historians have admitted “they had ‘entirely fabricated’ ancient Greece.”
Contributors: David Darlington, Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend