Featured Book: Writing History in the Digital Age

The Library has on order a print copy of Writing History in the Digital Age, a born-digital book also freely available from the University of Michigan Press. The Press’s web site describes how this book came into being:

 “Writing History in the Digital Age began as a “what-if” experiment by posing a question: How have Internet technologies influenced how historians think, teach, author, and publish? To illustrate their answer, the contributors agreed to share the stages of their book-in-progress as it was constructed on the public web.

 “To facilitate this innovative volume, editors Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki designed a born-digital, open-access, and open peer review process to capture commentary from appointed experts and general readers. A customized WordPress plug-in allowed audiences to add page- and paragraph-level comments to the manuscript, transforming it into a socially networked text. The initial six-week proposal phase generated over 250 comments, and the subsequent eight-week public review of full drafts drew 942 additional comments from readers across different parts of the globe.

“The finished product now presents 20 essays from a wide array of notable scholars, each examining (and then breaking apart and reexamining) if and how digital and emergent technologies have changed the historical profession.

“Jack Dougherty is Associate Professor of educational studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is collaborating with students and colleagues on a public history web-book titled On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and Its Suburbs, which has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 “Kristen Nawrotzki is Lecturer at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, and Senior Research Fellow in the Early Childhood Research Centre at the University of Roehampton in London, United Kingdom.”


Report on the research needs of historians

Ithaka S+R (part of ITHAKA, which brings us JSTOR and Portico) has published the first of many studies it plans to conduct on the changing research methods and practices of scholars in various disciplines. Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Historians examines the needs of historians and provides suggestions for how research support providers (including libraries) can better serve them.

From their web site:
“Our interviews of faculty and graduate students reveal history as a field in transition. It is characterized by a vast expansion of new sources, widely adopted research practices and communication mechanisms shaped by new technologies, and a small but growing subset of scholars utilizing new methodologies to ask questions or share findings in fresh, unique ways.

Research support providers such as libraries, archives, humanities centers, scholarly societies, and publishers – not to mention academic departments that are often at the front line of educating the next generation of scholars – need to innovate in support of these changes. This report provides context and a set of recommendations that we hope will help.

Download Report