a born-digital, open-review volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki

essay idea discussion (May-August 2011)

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 3 The open invitation phase of our edited volume has concluded with an overwhelming response. Thanks to over 65 contributors who suggested essay ideas on our central question: how has the digital revolution changed how we think, teach, write, and publish about the past? Between now and the August 15th essay submission deadline, we encourage authors to help us create a more cohesive and engaging book in the following ways:
• View the thematic list of essay ideas on a publicly-editable Google Document, and tell us in which category your idea belongs
• Share more about your essay writing process, modify your idea or title, or invite feedback by posting a comment on the whole page or a specific paragraph below
• Help authors refine their essay ideas-in-progress and consider other points of view by posting a comment
• Contact another contributor to discuss the possibility of co-authoring one essay, or coordinating individual essays
• Schedule time, if teaching a course this fall, for your students to comment during the open review period
• Upload your essay by August 15th to be considered for the open review period and final publication
Authors of existing essay ideas (listed by number on this page) should review the updated Submit page with detailed contributor information, our editorial process and intellectual property statement, and the upload tool. Due to the number of responses, we are NOT accepting new essay ideas at this time, but interested contributors may directly contact an author below to propose a way in which they might collaborate on an existing essay idea, subject to approval by the author.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 2) Making the Writing Process Public: Given historians’ cultural norm of working in solitude and hiding our work-in-progress, has the “open web” influenced our writing process? (see also #13 and #25)

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 7 3) Using Digital Tools: Have digital tools for historical analysis (such as text encoding and spatial mapping) or scholarly communication (such as online journals and blogs) altered how historians think and write — or not?

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 4) Shared Thoughts and Intellectual Property: When one author shares ideas on another author’s writing, either through a conventional peer review or online comments on a website, who “owns” the resultant text? Or does it belong to the “commons”? What insights can we gain on this question from historians of intellectual property and copyright law? (see also #26)

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 5) Co-Authoring and Collaborative Writing Tools: What can we learn from historians who co-author scholarly works with collaborative writing tools, such as Track Changes or Google Documents? Do their experiences differ from earlier generations of historians who collaborated without these tools?

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 6 6) Teaching Wikipedia: Some historians have banned their students from citing Wikipedia in their papers, while others have created innovative class assignments for students to contribute and edit Wikipedia essays. (See Roy Rosenzweig, Journal of American History 2006; Noam Cohen, New York Times 2007; Christopher Miller, AHA Perspectives 2007; Martha Saxton, Amherst College Gender Equality Project 2007-08; Mills Kelly, EdWired 2008; Kevin Sheets, AHA Perspectives 2009; Shawn Graham, Electric Archaeology 2010; Johnson, Washington Post 2011; Josh Fischman, Chronicle/WiredCampus 2011). What has your experience been with history course writing assignments and Wikipedia? What do these creative practices and conflicting fears within our profession reveal about the next generation of historical writing? (see also #18 and #21 below)

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 7) Reader Comments and the Historian as Author(ity). What happens when online reader comments challenge the author(ity) of historical scholarship? How has the democratization of historical analysis on the open web changed the nature of writing in our profession? (see also #25)

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 2 8) Companion Websites and Links to Online Archives. Traditionally, readers have relied on historians to include and interpret the most relevant evidence to support their argument. But today, more historians are digitizing a significant amount of research source materials to create an online archive, linked to their scholarship. How does this shift affect how we write — and read — history? (See also #16 below)

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 1 9) Open Peer Review: What We See and [Still] Can’t See in the Past. A decade ago, perhaps the most widely discussed issue of the Journal of American History was the 1997 roundtable, “What We See and Can’t See in the Past,” where editor David Thelen published Joel Williamson’s essay on lynching, and persuaded all six blind reviewers to reveal their names in print, “to demystify our own practice.” Given the growth of the open web, would this issue generate the same reaction today — or not?

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 4 10) Have Twitter and Blogs Killed H-Net? What has our experience with H-Net, the topical history email lists that emerged in the 1990s, taught our profession about sustaining online scholarly communities? Has the quantity and quality of written exchanges on H-Net changed as newer technologies have emerged, such as blogs and Twitter? Or, more provocatively, does anyone wish to debate this topic: Have Twitter and blogs killed H-Net?

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 3 11) Teaching Writing, Collaboration, and Digital History. How can we teach about writing, scholarly collaboration, and ways to engage undergraduates and soon-to-be historians in the digital age? (suggested by Hilary Moss) (see also #13)

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 12) Teaching How to Write Traditional and Digital History. How does historical writing change when our students shift from traditional forms of scholarly assignments toward publicly available digital history? “During fall 2010, I taught a histories of education course in which I asked my students to begin with a traditional form of scholarly writing—a critical review—and gradually move toward a publicly available digital history. We discussed extensively the different types of considerations and experimentation with the visual form and argument delivery. I would like to include examples of student work (with their permission) and analyze their shift from strictly textual scholarship to one that involves multiple forms of media.” (suggested by Adrea Lawrence)

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 9 13) Multiple Creators and the Doing, Evaluation, Attribution, and Teaching of Digital History. “The traditional model of historical scholarship is a solitary pursuit, yet many digital history projects (including, but not limited to, digitized archives, text-mining, and various new tools of digital scholarship) lend themselves to or even require multiple contributors (historians, librarians, archivists, technical specialists, digital humanities centers, etc.). So, then, how does the increasingly common practice of multiple creators in digital history affect the ways that scholarship is done, evaluated, and attributed? And how does that affect the ways that undergraduates learn about and engage in the practice of history? [This may overlap with some of the existing questions (esp. #2 and #11).]” and also #26 (suggested by Jeff McClurken)

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 3 14) Credentialing and Reviewing Digital Scholarship. “The development of digital history projects has prompted a great deal of angst about the proper credentialing / reviewing process for professional purposes (e.g., for tenure and promotion). What is necessary for this (relatively narrow) function is the articulation of intellectual purpose for digital projects, a delineation in the spirit of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered (1988) but fitting with the specifics of history. The well-dug trench of “long-form historical argument” embedded in the university-press monograph fits poorly with the range of constructions that are well-used digital history projects. Embedded in successful digital history projects is always (the possibility of) a rich historical argument, but historical argumentation is not always the intended central purpose or the way users find the most value. As members of what we would like to be a broader intellectual community, we need something that describes the intellectual merits of those projects. Fortunately, we also need that to help us teach, and the required focus of (successful) individual digital history projects suggests a common template that we can use in both teaching and in reviewing digital historical works.” (suggested by Sherman Dorn)

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 1 15) Historian-Librarian-Archivist Collaboration. How can historians, librarians, and archivists work together and “leverage digital resources to aid historical research and writing,” particularly with our students? (suggested by Natalia Mehlman Petrzela). We especially welcome collaborative essays written by faculty/librarians/archivists who have worked together.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 16) “Inside” Views of Sources and the Writing Process as Potential Game Changers. “How does the ability to post primary documents (assuming permissions are granted) and research results far in excess of those needed to sustain the argument of a monograph influence the process of researching and writing in the academy? Further, how does the web’s ability to grant readers an “inside” view of the research and writing process, and potentially to interpret the sources for themselves, change the game for historians? And most important, is this different when discussing academic monographs vs. popular history? I suspect that the process of interpretation and creation of narrative from sources will be enhanced rather than diminished by the transparency afforded by the web. It’s still not going to be a trivial task to come up with an original interpretation or a good story, even if people can see farther into the process. In fact, a deeper view into the process might add value.” (suggested by Dan Allosso; see also #8 above and Allosso’s prior comments at end of this page)

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 3 17) Rewriting History in the Digital Age. How does our historical writing change when new digital research tools become available years after we originally conducted the research, and/or when readers use online tools to write back and suggest new ideas/sources to the author? “I’m revisiting some of my pre-internet-access projects–my dissertation database, and a transcription project, both from the early 1990s–in blog format, tapping all the online family history and local history resources I couldn’t look at back then.  It’s pretty low-tech, really–mostly searching and linking and tweeting and being open to comments–and it’s far from done, but it’s already bringing much new information, and some useful interaction with others interested in related subjects.  So I think I’m interested in “rewriting history in the digital age”–digging back into old projects to see what new can be said and found about them, in the digital environment.  Maybe such projects are their own before-and-after studies about how the digital age shapes the writing of history…” (suggested by Penny Richards; see also prior comments at end of this page)

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 3 18) Teaching Wikipedia without Apologies. “’Teaching Wikipedia without Apologies’ examines a portion of my undergraduate history methods class devoted to teaching about the use of tertiary sources. The online, collectively-written encyclopedia Wikipedia is explicitly folded into my pedagogy. In this essay, I argue that despite skepticism about the value of encyclopedias and other reference works, teaching about the use of tertiary sources is legitimate. The inclusion of the born-digital Wikipedia site is continuous with, rather than a break from, my long-standing personal commitment to the value of encyclopedic writing as part of scholarly enterprises.” (suggested by Amanda Seligman; see also #6 and #21)

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 6 19) The Coming Age of the Video Monograph. “’The Coming Age of the Video Monograph’: Print monographs are a good way to disseminate scholarly information among people who like to read (that is, academics), but a very poor way to disseminate it among people who do not like to read (that is, 99% of the population). We need to accept the print monograph for what it is: a way for us to talk among ourselves. If we want to talk to the public, we need a new medium. It is clear what this medium is: video. There is no question that people would *much* rather watch, and watch just about anything, than read. Print and video have been competing on an equal basis for people’s attention for about 60 years now. The contest is over; video has won. So, if we want people outside the graduate seminar to learn what we have to teach about the past, we must translate our print monographs into narrative videos. Technology is no hindrance, for new software makes professional video production of the ‘Ken Burns’ variety easy. The primary challenge will be to convince an avant garde of historians to sacrifice some of their time to turning their monographs into videos, for it is virtually certain that no institutional support will be offered for this seemingly outlandish endeavor. For this initial period in the transition, your video work “will not count.” You won’t get a job with a video, you won’t get tenure with a video, and you won’t get promoted to full professor with a video. What you will get, though, is an audience, and clear demonstration that you–perhaps uniquely among your colleagues–are reaching the public with your research. Teaching the public, that’s part of our mission, right?” (suggested by Marshall Poe)

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 9 20) Communities as Investigators and Interpreters of History. Case studies of historical projects that involve communities as investigators and interpreters: “Digital tools have not merely transformed representation of scholarship and research tools, they’ve transformed the collaborative environment itself. Digital tools have promised to make ‘everyman his own historian,’ to borrow Carl Becker’s phrasing from his 1931 AHA Presidential Address. If Becker’s emphasis generated the intellectual underpinnings of social history and oral history (to mention just a couple subfields), in practice relatively little historical work is so radically collaborative begging the larger question. Can we at last, in the digital age, build the sort of rigorous collaborative communities that cross the town/gown divide? I am not talking generalized encyclopedia projects like Wikipedia but specific interpretive historical projects that involve communities as investigators and interpreters not merely as crowd-sourced transcribers or data generators, as is so often the model of distributive citizen science?
I would propose a case study of one such model project in Cleveland to highlight the possibilities and pratfalls of this sort of work. In Cleveland, we have worked to curate the city, to interpret its history not in isolation from the community but enmeshed in it. Our work has included: interpretive archival projects with teachers (Teaching & Learning Cleveland), collaborative websites, a 700+ interview oral history collection, history kiosks, and a mobile history application. The projects have involved students, teachers, and community members, as well as archivists and scholars, as collaborators in long-term endeavors that have generated digital scholarship and non-traditional interpretive formats. Is it possible, then, to capture Becker’s radical spirit in our work?” (suggested by Mark Tebeau)

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 21) Seeing Wikipedia as History Writing. “How are scholars of the past, and historians more specifically, to understand the Wikipedia? Greeted ten years ago by academics with skepticism (at best), the Wikipedia has achieved some degree of begrudging respect. Rather than ban its use, a number of college/university faculty encourage students to edit and improve its many entries. How many of us now consult Wikipedia entries as we prepare lectures and scholarship (even if only to discover what misperceptions might be out there)? How many edit entries ourselves? To understand the success of the Wikipedia and the degree to which it has become authoritative for many (and a point of departure for even more), we need to see the Wikipedia as history writing in the digital age. I propose to look at the Wikipedia through the lens of history and memory studies. Following Pierre Nora, I see its entries as ‘sites of memory’ (lieux de mémoire), places in which the digital public memorializes both the present and the past. Ordinarily, scholars treat history and memory as distinct. As David Blight puts it, ‘History – what trained historians do – is a reasoned reconstruction of the past rooted in research; critical and skeptical of human motive and action…. Memory, however, is often treated as a sacred set of potentially absolute meanings and stories, possessed as the heritage or identity of a community. Memory is often owned; history, interpreted. Memory is passed down through generations; history is revised.’ Yet in the Wikipedia history and memory collide. Here history can be owned. The Wikipedia purports to  offer authoritative entries but the authority is popular not scholarly. Indeed, in the Wikipedia, to borrow from Michel Foucault, the power to define history is capillary. That power is abetted by Wikipedia’s standard that articles be written from a ‘Neutral Point of View’ (NPOV), which resonates with the popular understanding of history as ‘just the facts.’ Scholarly trepidation with the nature of the Wikipedia stems in part from the realization that professional norms of interpretation, discourse, and debate, cannot be readily applied and may be unwelcome. In practical terms, it’s possible to illustrate the collision of history and memory through concrete examples from the Wikipedia, using screen shots of the main text but also of editorial changes made. Where might this fit in the volume/site? I see this theme as a bridge between questions about the use of the Wikipedia (see suggestion from Amanda Seligman) and those philosophical questions about the nature of the digital history enterprise (Mark Tebeau).” [see also #6 and #18 above] (suggested by Robert Wolff)

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 4 22) Citizen Archivists? Citizen Scholars?: Facebook, Flickr Commons, and the Co-Creation of Knowledge. “’Doing (Quilt) History on Facebook’. I work for the Quilt Index, a digital repository providing preservation and access to images and metadata for over 50,000 quilts. In addition to my regular work, I also manage the project’s page on Facebook, including posting a ‘Quilt of the Day’ daily. Themes for the Quilt of the Day (a particular pattern, period, region, etc), are often suggested by the nearly 2,000 fans, many of whom, I have discovered from their posts, are lay scholars. Engaging in this co-creation of knowledge on Facebook has been fascinating. On more than one occasion, a ‘fan’ has pointed out that there was something wrong with a quilt record, or suggested a way in which the record might be more complete. This has then prompted me to do additional research and post the findings. I also think that the process of negotiating the weekly themes for these quilts of the day with the fan base is a type of historical writing and research, not to mention the comments that they post in response to the quilts, often providing obscure information about pattern origins and early publications. I’m an academic textile historian, though I realize that this outpouring of lay scholarship on Facebook is not to be ignored. So much so in fact, that I’ve cited Facebook comments before. Facebook is, for me, challenging the traditional channels of scholarly communication, and crowd-sourcing the way in which I approach the writing of history.” Suggested by Amanda Sikarskie. (See also #20 and #28, and the comment by Penny Richards on Flickr Commons attached to the last paragraph below.)

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 3 23) Challenging the Primacy of Text: “I would suggest that when we talk about ‘writing history,’ we’re not merely talking about texts. We are, in fact, emphasizing a mode of interpretive thinking so embedded in history research and interpretation.
The digital has really challenged the primacy of text and thus transformed the writing of history, pushing our work toward a curatorial model which is less text based. I would argue that this enriches our interpretive work, emphasizes text as part of that interpretive process, but neither the end of it nor its only expression. Let me give two examples. First, oral history (and even ethnography, though to a lesser degree) used to be understood almost primarily as a textual activity. The result of an oral history interview was not (before the 1970s) understood to be the sound file, but the printed textual transcript. Oral historians compiled these transcripts, read them, interpreted them and wrote them.  The 1970s ushered in a paradigmatic shift across disciplines, emphasizing multiple subjectivities. In oral history, the voice became increasingly important, and by the digital revolution the human voice became a signal part of the field. Not only do oral historians increasingly share their work in non-textual ways, but oral history interpretation has been transformed. We curate voices and stories; we interpret those voices. Text still matters, but its primacy has diminished. This, I would argue, has transformed the writing of history, at least in the realm of oral history. Likewise, I would suggest that other forms of interpretive expression–photography, objects, and cartography–are playing a more signal role in interpretive historical writing. They have moved from being merely illustrative of textual arguments and interpretations to carrying interpretive weight in their own right. (Curiously, for a brief period, in the 1970s and 1980s, quantitative history and numbers took this role with the first wave of humanities computing, but receded under heavy specialization.) Recently, digital tools–through mashup, aggregation, and more powerful computing–have allowed these alternate forms of representation to emerge as powerful challengers to the primacy of text in crafting interpretation. So, I suppose what I want to do with this piece is really challenge the primacy of text, of “writing history” in the digital age. I want to suggest the emergence of alternative models is altering how we both interpret history and represent interpretive arguments. I want to suggest that new models and concepts, such as curation, or that new tools or alternative modes of representing and aggregating evidence (image, sound, maps, etc.) are pushing us to reconsider the precise nature of teaching and learning history. They are challenging the primacy of text.” (Suggested by Mark Tebeau) [see also #8 above and prior comments at bottom of this page]

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 6 24) How Do Digital Archives Change the Way We Write History? “As practitioners of modern-digital history we are able to instantaneously gain access to journals, news stories and other documentary evidence from foreign countries and other disciplines previously inaccessible in most university libraries. This has undoubtedly aided in redefining our craft and expanding our understanding and approach. But living in a digital era that provides us such ready access has a flip side as well. In many ways, the documents that historians have relied on in the past are no longer being systematically filed, archived and catalogued. Indeed, many conversations, ideas and decisions are being shared outside of the realm of traditional documentation. As libraries, archives, and governments struggle to capture our current conversations, society continues to find new and in many cases, less revealing methods of communication. . . A prime example of how electronic record keeping is changing the way we conduct history can be seen in government records. In Canada, almost all government departments and agencies fall under our National Archives Act which requires them to retain, cull and submit their files to the archives. This has resulted in an enormous amount of material being housed, maintained and made available to researchers. In  political biography, studies of Canada’s foreign relations, domestic politics, and civil liberties movements it provide a framework for understanding not only how the government governed but also the constraints and opportunities that people faced. As historians know, the evolution of a historical document and the contextualization that can be discovered in an archival file are crucial to the craft. The nuances and marginalia in a draft memorandum in comparison to the official copy can shed light not only on the process but the shaping of the outcome: What led one reviewer to reject a paragraph? How did individual personality and tone alter the delivery of the message? As we move forward with electronic communications we face a new challenge in recording dialogue. Currently, the National Archives has some brilliant people working on protocols for electronic government record keeping. They are developing strategies for e-discovery, setting standards and implementing guidelines and best practices for the retention of documentation. Still, there was a lengthy period while electronic communications were developing when retention policies had yet to be put in place. Further complicating the lack of procedure is access. In a previous project I did for a department’s record keeping center we had to track down a machine that would read 5 ¼-in floppies and then a compatible program to extract the information. Undoubtedly, there are floppies, laser discs, and zip drives collecting dust throughout government agencies and in private collections. Will we take the effort to revive these forms of storage when the time comes? How can we make sure that current forms of discussion are preserved for future historians?
The paper that I propose to write would examine current problems with document retention policies and identify gaps left behind because of technological advancements.  It would juxtapose the impact of previous shifts in forms of communications with current digital communication tools. Working as a Canadian historian, my focus would be on policies and programs in place in this country, although a comparative analysis with a US or other collaborator would be very welcome.” (suggested by Ryan Shackleton)

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 2 25) The Challenge of Sharing Sources and Interpretations with Readers: “We have been co-editors of the Women and Social Movements web sites for thirteen years, beginning with our work with Binghamton students in 1997, then in the web site’s transformation into an online, peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, in 2003-2004, and today also as the co-editors of the new online archive, Women and Social Movements, International—1840 to Present. Our focus throughout has been to publish interpretive collections of primary documents—the integration of sources and interpretation that online technology invites. First, we designed the innovative format of document projects to explore the history of women and social movements in the United States. Now we are constructing an online archive of documents generated by women’s international activism since the mid-nineteenth century. We will also publish scholarly interpretive essays that draw on these resources. The digital medium permits the expansive publication of primary sources, thus providing readers a unique opportunity to reflect upon historical interpretation in the light of unprecedented access to the primary sources on which that interpretation is based. This new environment poses new challenges for historians as they share both their sources and their interpretations with their readers and permit their readers to evaluate their work in new ways.” (suggested by Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar; see also #2 and #7)

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 26) Hidden Collaborations and Open Access Licensing: “My essay idea connects, in a manner, to Jeff’s idea in #13 and also to #4. I want to argue that new distribution and copyright models represented by Creative Commons and/or Open Access offer the potential to match the outcome of creative historical writing with the hidden collaborations that make that work possible. The solitary endeavor of the historian at the archive and the single-authored monograph mystify a whole set of relationships and congealed labors that make that work possible. Archival manuscripts and the work that results from using them represent fetishes in the way Marx wrote of the fetish. Combined with the intellectual debts to previous scholarship, and the processes of review even our most traditional work is truly collaborative. Creative Commons, as a licensing idea that grew directly out of digital challenges to intellectual property, offers a means to codify that collaboration. And, digital publication across a range of types of historical writing offers a distribution method to capitalize on the promise of CC-BY, and also to lay bare the true collaborations behind even the most traditional historical writing. Finally, they offer a means for the individual scholar to keep the actual creative rights to their work, rather than selling it off to a press for little more than the prestige rights of a gift economy. I’ve written a post about this previously on my blog, but I’d like to take a more serious and systematic stab at it.” (suggested by Chad Black)

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 1 27) What Can Historians Learn from Journalists and Digital Storytelling? “As a historian beginning my dissertation, I first encountered this question about what our field might learn from journalism and other digital collaborations at The Technology and Humanities Camp (THATCamp) at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University (session notes here). One of the conclusions we came to was that historians need to be better at breaking our work into smaller ‘consumable bits,’ rather than holding out for a monograph to tell our stories. Journalists can help us in this task by providing innovative ways of storytelling with digital media (blogs, sound/photo essays).  My research examines the politics of Argentine soccer and I have been working on an Omeka site to share all of my public domain primary sources, as many are public domain government documents. During my fieldwork, I want to start building exhibits that make these sources meaningful to the Argentine public and help tell a story of change over time in soccer. I have also been very lucky to fall into a community of generous researchers who are invested in my project, and I would like to take that story and process online. At the research stage, finding and interpreting sources is often a piecemeal process where collaboration is key. Were this process to be taken online with digital media, archives, and collaboration, I believe my historical interpretation could be more transparent and illuminating.” (suggested by Alex Galarza)

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 2 28) Crowdsourcing as Relinquishing Control of the Historical Voice. “Digital history is a kind of public history: when we put materials online, we enter into a conversation with individuals from all walks of life, with various voices and degrees of professionalism. This essay would discuss our experience in relinquishing control of the historical voice, to crowdsource cultural heritage and history. What is the role of the historian when we crowdsource? Our project is unfolding this summer, and can be followed at http://heritagecrowd.org.” (suggested by Shawn Graham) See also #20 and #22, above.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 29) Visualization as Historical Argument. “The notion that pictures, charts, maps, and other visualizations can be integral to the development of an historical narrative or argument precedes the development of online works (e.g. in the work of Edward Tufte). Occasionally, as in historical atlas projects, the work of creating visualizations was as valued as traditional text-based narratives or arguments. But more often in the past, visual evidence was mere illustrative detail to text-based arguments. The internet has created opportunities for more expansive interactive visualizations that can carry greater narrative and rhetorical weight. Hans Rosling’s work on the evolution of health and wealth in the last two centuries underscores how powerful arguments can be built on a visualization. Some visualizations can be easily and intuitively read and understood. Others require a bit of experience or habituation to understand the points being made. This presentation will talk about how historians are using visualizations to make arguments and how we can accustom historians to ‘reading’ information and arguments presented visually.  In some respects, this topic focuses on a subset of the issues raised by Mark Tebeau in #23; but I think visual literacy is a substantial enough topic that it deserves its own space.” (Suggested by John Theibault)

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 1 30) How has full-text searching change historical research and writing? “As a literature scholar who crosses over into history from time to time, I’m interested in the influence of the now-very-rudimentary technology of text searching (and, of course, the growing number of databases of searchable text).  Before the digital age, historians found sources (both primary and secondary) in a variety of ways (which will never go out of style) including library catalogs and shelves, finding aids in archives, references in existing secondary literature, word of mouth, and serendipity.  By and large, these methods require looking for subjects.  Now that we have numerous venues for keyword searching, from Google to specialized databases, we often find sources not based on topical connections but based on specific words and phrases (which, of course, have histories of their own; I often have to remind my students that if they’re searching primary sources from the 19th century, typing in ‘African American’ will not lead them to what they’re probably looking for).  So to the extent that we now find sources based on the words they contain — rather than on their titles, or subjects, or the ways some intermediary catalogued them — are we seeing different parts of the documentary record, or seeing records differently and in different combinations?  And does that prompt historical writing to devote more attention to concerns (sometimes more closely associated with literary studies) such as discursive patterns, quotation & intertextuality, evolving figures of speech, etc.  I think of Kate Masur’s great article in JAH a few years ago about the word ‘contraband’ during the Civil War era — a piece that certainly entailed a great deal of ‘old-fashioned,’ reading-intensive research, but that also would have been almost prohibitively difficult to pull off without the ability to search large quantities of material for the single word, ‘contraband’.” (suggested by Christopher Hager, who encourages others to write an essay on this topic; see also #3)

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 3 31) Towards Teaching the History Survey, Digitally. “How are digital tools changing the task to which professional historians devote much of their time: teaching the history survey to non-majors? With low-barrier online publishing tools, college instructors (even in large classes) can offer students a range of opportunities for doing history and bring survey courses alive by turning students into producers. Tools such as blogs, wikis, and digitized archives offer new possibilities for delivering content, managing courses, structuring research and writing assignments, and organizing group work. Each of these possibilities also comes with a set of challenges that teachers must think through in order to most effectively integrate technology into their courses. Can and should teaching the history survey digitally challenge our notions of how and why such courses are important? We propose an essay that explores how college teachers can granularly and gradually integrate a range of digital tools and methods into introductory history courses, and what is to be gained by doing so. We’ll use our own failures and successes as models.” (suggested by Tom Harbison and Luke Waltzer)

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 3 32) Writing for new audiences: popular history, the Academy and the Internet: “As a humanity, history is supposedly about people. Its subject is humanity, and humanity generated most if not all of its source material. It is also, of course, enjoyed by humanity, or at least some parts thereof, and various studies report that this popularity continues to increase even as money to teach history is cut away. The obligations attached to this money, much of which has its origins in the public purse, lead some historians to feel that they have an obligation to communicate to the public, and in the USA at least public historian is a professional title. In Europe, by contrast, such a desire can still be stigmatised: the messy hangover of Oxbridge reactions to early `TV dons’ is now visible in academic reactions to the inaccuracies, streamlining and sensationalisation of much historical TV programming, and this has its knock-on effects on the presentation of history online. How far is it desirable to put our work online for public consumption? Is this a worthwhile endeavour personally? Are its professional consequences beneficial, or detrimental? Can we communicate our complex topics in this way without unacceptable simplification? (And if we can’t, how on earth can we teach them?) These issues obviously swirl particularly closely around historical blogging, where informality, accessibility and the desire for an audience butt heads with professionalism, accuracy and the desire to keep one’s findings one’s own until publication. Is this kind of presentation of our work a meaningless time-sink or a valuable source of comment and self-justification? And must the academic and public spheres remain separate anyway? In this essay I would attempt to address these concerns from my own experience and suggest that while there is no one way to blog, even for academics, there are several that may make us better writers, better communicators and better able to be sure that what we are doing matters.” (suggested by Jonathan Jarrett).

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 1 33) How are digital technologies changing who researches and writes history? “The definition of ‘historian’ becomes quite muzzy when we consider the ever-growing number of people who consult digitized primary sources to write about the past on blogs, wikis, forums, and genealogy sites. My  research question, then, becomes ‘How are digital technologies changing who researches and writes history, and what authorial roles are scholars playing in the fuzzy edges where crowdsourcing and the lay public are creating new research resources and narratives?’ Furthermore, what might professional historians’ responsibilities be in these liminal spaces of historical practice? I’m open to case study suggestions, but I’m thinking specifically about exploring the intersection of U.S. Civil War memory as expressed on blogs, wikis, and forums authored by amateur historians or the lay public with the communities of amateur historians that coalesce on genealogy sites like Ancestry.com, where users can piece together family histories by synthesizing government records and crowdsourced resources of varying origin and credibility. So, for example, how are digital archival and communication resources affecting the spread or containment of the black Confederate soldier narrative–and how are these technologies aiding academic historians in participating, or impeding them from intervening, in these discussions? Related to #28, but but different, in that it focuses more on the public’s interpretation and synthesis of records than on their co-creation of a geographical community’s archive.” (suggested by Leslie Madsen-Brooks)

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 34) Digital Methods, Source Scarcity, and Unheard Voices: “For Americanist historians in the last 40 years, some of the most innovative approaches to source-scarcity problems have been pioneered by scholars working on women’s, African-American, and other minority histories. What is the current state of digital research methods in these subfields and why? By ‘digital methods,’ I mean any of the following:
– the use of fulltext-search source databases (nonprofit and commercial; open-access and subscription-based)
– researcher-produced archival photography and/or researcher self-publication of primary sources
– optical character recognition (OCR) of publications or archival materials to build one’s own searchable collections of primary source materials
– use of geographic information systems (GIS) or other mapping systems (Google Maps, GeoCommons, etc) as exploratory tools
– other tools (describe them and explain what they’re useful for)
How do digital methods modify source-scarcity problems in these subfields? What opportunities do they offer and what challenges do they pose in terms of institutional and personal resources, professional training, and/or pedagogy? What new kinds of questions can we ask and answer within these subfields using digital tools, and how are those digitally-enabled answers changing larger historical narratives? [This is partially a proposal for an essay I’d like to write and partially a question to pull in a wider range of contributors. It relates to topics 3, 30, 33, 25, and others. As written, it’s targeted to Americanists (because that’s what I’m planning to write about) but mutatis mutandis, it could also be an appropriate question for scholars who work on minority histories or women within other national contexts, or on pre-19th-century periods.]” (suggested by Shane Landrum)

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 4 35) Digital methods and classroom diversity: “Another avenue of exploration for contributors might be around demographic diversity (of students and faculty) and the use of digital methods in the classroom. Access to one’s own computer at an early age– in the exploratory, experimental style known as ‘hacking’– is a privilege which isn’t often available to working-class, non-white, non-male students. To what extent does the ‘digital divide’ (race/class, and to a lesser extent gender) affect who has the skills to do digital research in minority histories? How can we use courses in digital methods as ways to expose a broader range of students both to digital tools and to minority histories as an area of inquiry? (suggested by Shane Landrum)

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 1 36) Collaborative Teaching with TEI (Text Encoding Initiative): The Wheaton College Digital History Project: “This is related to a number of previous posts.  It describes three iterations of assignments/opportunities in which students at Wheaton College have used TEI (and the History Engine) to contribute to a local digital history project. Can undergraduates contribute meaningfully to a long-term digital history project?  What role can transcription and markup play in the undergraduate history curriculum?  How can collaborations among instructor, archivist, and technologist contribute to undergraduate research?  What is the role of collaborations with other small liberal arts colleges and with large research universities? All too often, students majoring in non-science disciplines have little exposure to computational thinking and working with computer code.  At the same time, digital methods of analysis exert growing influence on the practice of many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.  The Wheaton College Digital History Project seeks to bridge this gap using tools from Digital Humanities.  Ours is an example of a long-term project in digital history that includes undergraduates as significant partners in the digitization and interpretation of a local collection that offers insight into the relationship between capitalist accumulation and women’s education in the nineteenth-century United States.” (suggested by Kathryn Tomasek)

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 37) Pasts in a Digital Age: “I would like to suggest an essay that inquires into whether and how digital media is altering the way we interact with our pasts.  With the digital media we frequently hear comments that the significance and use of the past are changing–becoming flatter and more fragmented.  One challenge for history is to understand how digital media impact our writing of history; it is an opportunity to think differently about how we use and narrate pasts.  To understand this impact, I argue that we must first recognize that both history as well as linear time are historical rather than natural ways of thinking about the past.  This form of “historical thinking” emerged during the first half of the nineteenth century.  With this realization we return to the basic components of history: recorded happenings, categories, and modes of connecting pasts.  Moreover, we see other ways that pasts have functioned in earlier societies, as well as today.  Finally, I will sketch practices that might be more consonant with the distributed and networked world of the digital age, a more complex relationship with time that incorporates the heterogeneity and multilinearity of lived experience and our structured lives. . . I think of the writing of history along the lines of Michel de Certeau’s work, The Writing of History, where writing is the formulation of a practice and knowledge system.  Digital media, then potentially offers a different sociocultural milieu upon which the past has meaning.  At this point, the digital can reinforce existing practices or it can expose the historicity of those practices and open up new possibilities.  The latter raises questions about and the limitations of the way we conceive of data, categories, and narratives.  Also the primacy of the text.” (suggested by Stefan Tanaka)

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 38) The Fantasy of the Complete Digital History Archive: “I argue that the digital humanities, as the field currently exists, operates within a space of fantasmatic completion of the history archive—a fantasy heavily critiqued by early twentieth century critics of historiography including Henry Adams and Walter Benjamin. Both Adams and Benjamin in their respective work propose answers to the question of how one might listen to the traces of the past and the historian’s obligation to give voice to those occluded and multiple silenced voices. In the process both make imaginative, metaphorical use of new technologies; for Adams the electric generator—the dynamo—with its twin magnetic poles of positive and negative symbolize the historian’s proper relation to the past and present, while for Benjamin the layering in the photomontage reveals what he calls the ‘optical unconscious’ and makes possible a new position that traditional historiography has occluded. Benjamin’s Arcades Project and his use of the figure of the panorama, however, acknowledge that the project of completion is doomed to fail. If the new media and representation technologies that emerged in the nineteenth century presented Adams and Benjamin with the possibility of rupture in the historical record, the digital technologies and massive storage databases of the present moment require a profound reconsideration of the historiographic project itself. . . I would like to suggest that the promise of digital reproducibility–the fantasy of a perfect recreation of an author’s workstation–implicit in a project such as Emory University’s Rushdie Archives might be undermined by these early theorists of media and history (Adams and Benjamin). Digital historians of today have wonderful tools that enable the recovery of repressed or low-resolution data & information, but perhaps in in deploying these tools we lose the sense of temporal shift that becomes the condition of possibility for the historical event.” (suggested by Jed Dobson)

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 39) Challenges in “Writing” a Digital History Game: “Those of us creating the game Pox in the City as both a teaching and research tool for the history of medicine approach the ‘writing’ of history from different perspectives. Each one of us brings a specific area of expertise to the project but what may appear as a simple decision in one area suddenly becomes problematic when it intersects with another area creating, essentially, a jigsaw puzzle. A collaborative digital history project raises a series of questions: How do you clarify the content and its relevance to the study of history especially when securing funding for the project? How does one adapt the content into a playable scenario that retains educational and research value? What restrictions do funding as well as research and pedagogical concerns have on the actual programming? And how are these concepts visually represented in a digital world?” (suggested by Laura Zucconi)

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 40) Doing History through or of Digital/New Media: Technologies and the “Disappearance” of History: “I’m playing with the idea that immersion as we understand the term for digital media was invented about 1250. Technologies of dimensionality (oil and canvas, photography, videogames) are glosses on that moment. The relevance of this notion for our discussion is that, digital media is not only not possible without previous technologies; those technologies themselves may originate from an odd epistemological change. … [R]eductively articulated, digital media is a point somewhere in the middle of a hopefully infinite continuum of representations. To think otherwise is analogous to assuming that we live in the best of all possible worlds. … The change in how we understand what we see in the thirteenth century has two effects on digital media and history. The first is a general effect: historically, digital media does not happen in the West without this change. … The second effect is more immediate and local and more historiographic (more about how we understand and write history): when a new visual technology emerges, we fear and hope that visual knowledge will displace written or other kinds of knowledge. This is the issue behind religious iconoclasm, the fear of the ‘culture industry,’ and now the illiteracy that we fear the GUI will impose on young people, who will look at online pictures rather than read books. This displacement of prose by the visual is part of the disappearance of history that critics like Fredric Jameson fear is the hallmark of contemporary industrialized societies.
 What is the effect of all of this on the doing of history through or of new media? 1. It should make historians want to understand better the difference between reading the book and reading the GUI. For example, while most of the discussions here assume the efficacy of online education, I see no research discussion that interrogates this assumption. And it is a big assumption. 2. Historians of New Media itself should be talking about Arab science more.” (Suggested by Mark Winokur. See also #29 and #38).

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 1 41) Knowledge Organization as Historical Practice: “I’d like to propose a chapter, partially inspired by John Theibault’s comment above, on ‘Knowledge Organization as Historical Practice.’ History is knowledge organization. In The Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault wrote that history is one specific way a society orients itself to the ‘mass of documentation’ upon which it depends. History is a way of recognizing documents (including material culture) as survivals from the past and as the potential basis for inquiries about that past. With the goal of answering these inquiries, ‘history … organizes the document, divides it up, distributes it, orders it, arranges it in levels, establishes series, distinguishes between what is relevant and what is not, discovers elements, defines unities, describes relations’ (Foucault 1972). These are of course the core activities of knowledge organization as practiced by the librarian, archivist, and curator, the professionals that Robert Berkhofer, in his Fashioning History, calls ‘historians of first resort.’ Knowledge organization is history. A tool for knowledge organization such as a subject classification is a kind of history of some domain of cultural or intellectual development, though it is rarely recognized as such. Robert Fairthorne, in his discussion of the temporal structure of bibliographical classification (1974), demonstrated that the knowledge organizer faces problems, similar to those faced by the historian, of constructing comprehensible patterns from sets of documents. Michael Buckland claimed that all information retrieval is historical information retrieval, due to the temporal separation of authors and searchers and the obsolescent nature of all information resources and conceptual frameworks.
The demands and constraints of our technologies and techniques of knowledge organization have tended to obscure these connections, reinforcing the artificial separation of history and knowledge organization. The scholar’s index cards recording chronologies, rubber-banded and stored in file boxes and could not be easily connected to the cards in the library’s card catalog, the dog-eared pages of the archival finding aid, or museum’s adhesive labels. The ongoing move to networked digital information systems is changing this situation, and in process eroding the institutional boundaries we have erected between ‘historians’ and ‘knowledge organizers.’ Given these changes, some key challenges emerge. How might conceptualizations developed by historians be operationalized for use in networked systems of knowledge organization? And how might designers and implementers of knowledge organization systems better acknowledge the historically situated nature of their work, and bring to it a degree of reflectiveness similar to that achieved by historians?” (Suggested by Ryan Shaw)

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 42) The Not-Too-Distant-Reading of Historical Texts: “Digital humanists have begun to explore the power of distant reading–viewing texts from a much higher scale to identify larger phenomena that aren’t visible at the level of the traditional close reading. As a result, new methodologies like topic modeling and natural language processing have given us new ways of thinking about texts and hold great promise to yield new research questions and answers. However, most humanists remain skeptical about such claims and the questions derived by such techniques. Opaque algorithms and data manipulations raise humanists’ concern as to whether the resultant data says anything meaningful about a text itself. I argue that we must abandon in our methodological arguments the unnecessary binary of close and distant readings that has characterized recent debates. Rather, I suggest an approach that might encourage wider adoption of various methodologies in the digital humanities: the not-too-distant reading. This approach, which I hope to elaborate on in the essay, embraces simple technologies to help humanists sort, filter, and process the growing body of easily available online texts in very straightforward and incremental steps. Such a methodology allows a historian to comb through virtually infinitely more texts than is possible by hand or by simple text searching, but still relies on reading (parts of) the texts. Crucial to this approach, I will argue, is that (digital) historical writing must emphasize methodological transparency. Because digital history employs so many techniques not taught in traditional history training, discussions of our data manipulations need to be integrated into our interpretive work, rather than focusing solely on conclusions from purely mathematical results. Such clarity will improve the legitimacy of large-scale research by simultaneously staying to closer to the texts and also facilitating similar inquiries on the same or different texts–that is, repeatability and related explorations–and thus further the scholarly discussion about them in ways that simply do not happen now.” (suggested by Fred Gibbs; see also #3)

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 43) Historical Research and the Problem of Categories: Reflections on 10,000 Digital Notecards: “I propose an essay focusing on one digital tool – the relational database – and its utility in both the logistical and analytical work of historical research. An earlier version of this essay. . . was included in the first round of the ‘Writing History’ project. The essay considers both the mechanical and conceptual issues of database use in historical research. It chronicles my design and use of one database in dissertation research and writing, and then explores how tools such as these provoke historians to think about how we categorize information, and what various approaches to categorizing and organizing information mean not only for our research process, but for our findings. Using a database not only kept my note-taking tidy; it allowed me to interact with my evidence in ways that furthered my analysis. Full-text searchability across all database fields, combined with easy re-grouping and sorting, made it possible to efficiently organize my evidence around new research questions, ones that I had not anticipated when I first began my project. In other instances, the database helped me see connections between themes and examples that I would otherwise have missed. Reflecting on historian-created databases as research tools raises questions that scholars in archival studies and the social history of knowledge have long addressed: how does the process of making categories of information or knowledge affect how we interact with evidence, what we learn from it, or what we fail to learn? Although this essay differs from many proposed for this volume in that it contemplates a historical research and writing process that was neither collaborative nor public, and focused on paper archives rather than digital collections, it intersects with others in its interest in the benefits and limitations of full-text searchability, and it provokes the question of how much of the research process could, or should, become public if as historians shift towards creating digital tools for and records of their research process.” (suggested by Ansley Erickson; see also #3 and #41)

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 44) Everyone is an Editor: The Tenuous Politics of Non-Linear Editing and the Digital Age: “Non-linear video editing ushered in dramatic changes in the ways that videos are produced. Gone were the days of editors working in dark rooms on old but reliable machines, and stable expectations about what videos would look like. The promise of non-linear editing in video was that production would become more democratic, and that the risks of cutting and taping strips of film could be mitigated. Non-linear editing has reduced access and production costs, allowing new producers and new aesthetics to change the video landscape. What these changes mean for production quality and production employees is a complicated question. This essay will draw out an analogy between digital technology for video production and digital technology for the production of historical texts, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which non-linear editing normalized the automated production information and special effects.” (suggested by Daniel Faltesek; see also #2, #19, and prior comments at bottom of this page)

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 1 45) Toward New Genres of Historical Writing: “Typical history scholarship describes causation in narrative form, usually published in monographs and academic journals. We argue that the traditional forms of and venues for historical writing are no longer sufficient for the scholarly work being done with historical data/texts now available online and the new methodologies used to interrogate them. Instead, we examine the need for and legitimacy of new genres of historical writing, including technical tutorials, blog posts, short exploratory essays, etc., that deemphasize narrative in favor of interfacing with, exploring, and then making sense of data–that is, the hermeneutics of data. Such writing will foreground the new historical methods to manipulate text/data coming online, including data queries and manipulation, and the production and interpretation of visualizations. We also argue that such new kinds of writing and exercises should be required of all historians in training–not just in digital history courses–to best use the new kinds of historical sources/data that have opened up new avenues of inquiry for virtually every field.” (Suggested by Trevor Owens and Fred Gibbs)

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 46) The Accountability Partnership: “Our iconic image of a historian remains the scholar laboring in isolation, pouring forth pages of beautifully crafted prose.  But what happens when that isolation becomes too isolating and those pages of prose simply don’t pour out?  The task of writing history is challenging, especially in the early years of a career – during the dissertation and first book – when the work is still new and the obstacles unfamiliar. But how has the Digital Age altered those challenges? Most centrally, how might it offer new strategies for overcoming them?  The broad purposes of our essay are to interrogate the growing literature on ‘teaching’ young scholars how to write – the actual sitting down and putting words to page part – and to propose specific strategies that harness technology to help facilitate the writing process.  Building on our prior essay from the first round of this project, we will examine the various writing strategies presented in Dissertation Writing guidebooks and various university-sponsored support services and then focus on our own experience of using a daily, online ‘Accountability Partnership’ during the final two years of our dissertation writing.  We expect that our experience will both echo and augment many of these traditional strategies while offering new possibilities for using technology.  Like many other articles proposed for this collection, ours is concerned with how the task of writing history has changed in the Digital Age.  Rather than focusing on the changing nature of archives and the challenges of data collection and organization, we want to understand how technology can alter the psychological and emotional aspects of the writing process.  This understanding has obvious implications for budding historians and their advisors, but it also transcends disciplinary boundaries with important implications for scholars across the Academy.” (suggested by Sarah Manekin and Natalia Mehlman Petrzela; see also #2, #5, and #11)

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 1 47) How Digital Media Challenge Historical Authorship: “Our essay explores the opportunities and challenges digital media presents to historians. We argue that digital communications and social media have the potential to not only expand how historical work is communicated and shared, but to fundamentally alter our understanding of what the craft of writing history involves. Drawing upon our experiences as both digital natives who teach or mentor faculty in technology-mediated environments, and as graduate students in history and educational history whose initiations to the field have been notably absent of technology, our essay explores some of the tensions these different experiences elicit. In particular we explore the sharp contrast between the kind of participatory dialogue which social media embodies, and the traditional one-way communication between historians and readers. We discuss the speed at which information and ideas are distributed over the World Wide Web, in contrast to the more linear, paper-based world of institutional archives. These differences raise specific questions: in what ways do social media challenge traditional notions of authorship and authority? How might it transform the culture of historical scholarship, which has been conceived primarily as a solo endeavor?  And finally, what does it mean to think like a historian, and can technology impact historical thinking? As both teachers and budding historians, we believe there is much to be gained by asking these questions and exploring how they may impact our own work.” (Suggested by Allison Ruda and Shaunna Harrington, Northeastern University; see also #3 and #7)

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 48) An Informal History of Informal Writing: “In the age of ‘text message novel,’ scholars have noticed a revival of writing in a variety of irregular formats, often aided by new technologies such as cell phones.  Some commentators have condemned these new forms of expression as an assault on the English language (e.g. ‘I h8 txt msgs: How texting is wrecking our language‘), yet others have noted that texting, tweeting, blogging and other activities have reintroduced writing into the everyday lives of young people.  It may not look like a term paper, but it is writing nonetheless.  I would like to place recent debates about academic writing in the broader context of our changing approaches to written expression.  New media enthusiasts have argued that online publishing can revolutionize the way we do scholarship (in terms of its form, content, and accessibility), while critics have worried about the impact of online expression on the quality and credibility of scholarly work.  With these concerns in mind, this piece will explore the significance of blogs and other kinds of ‘informal writing’ for historians and scholars more broadly.  It will situate blogging outside the traditional binary between scholarly publications and writing for the popular press, suggesting that a third option exists beside the traditional monograph or journal article and the op-ed or magazine piece for scholars who wish engage the public in their research.  It will compare blogs with other media such as wikis, zines, and newsletters that offer relatively unregulated and unrestrictive outlets for writing.  I plan for the piece to look at successful online experiments by scholars, such as the Legal History blog and the historiography wiki at George Mason University, while drawing on my own experience co-editing a blog focused on historiography, pop culture, and urban studies.  Is there a danger in exposing our unpolished writing and inchoate thoughts to the world?  Can it help to get out of a straightjacket of academic prose now and then?  The main focus of the piece will be on the ways that informal writing can enhance how we explore new avenues of research, conceptualize problems, and receive feedback from others on new projects.  It will also consider the ethical and practical perils that sometimes come along with writing online, such as doubts about the scholarly integrity of non-peer-reviewed, unedited work  and the dreaded ‘timesuck’ problem. (Suggested by Alex Cummings; see also #3 and #32)

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 49) The Walking History Tour Goes Mobile: “Guided walking tours can provide a unique experience for an individual or group to better understand a particular place and time. Through a narrative, tour guides provide the path through history with focus on multiple historical aspects including the culture, demographics, historical movements, defining events, architecture, and more. Guests of the tour expect to witness remnants of the historical place and time by viewing the existing buildings, landmarks, and cultural artifacts.
Today, mobile technology is an accepted platform for access to more and more information content. What if there were a means to bring the rich experience of a walking tour to a mobile device? What if anyone with an iPhone could easily access a walking tour on the spot? What if anyone with an iPhone wanted to tell and share their own story or history about a particular city or neighborhood? Technology has made this possible through a new app for the iPhone that supports the creation and access of walking tours anywhere in the world.
In this paper, I plan to discuss the experience of creating walking tours, or local histories, for the app and how technology has also made possible the extraordinary access to historical records through full-text searching of newspapers and projects such as Digital Harlem.” (Suggested by Nancy Friedland; see also #3 and #20)

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 50) Digital History Haves and Have-Nots: “Access to digital sources has revolutionized the methods of historical research, but the current marketplace of information could likely negatively affect historical scholarship. Initially internet access to indexes and databases and faster interlibrary loan services, made it possible to do high caliber research at smaller institutions without research collections. However, the current practices of database providers will return library users to a world of the haves and have nots. In the current climate of the information, publishers market to the general undergraduate researcher with single search engines, multi-source databases, full text access to journals, and thematic digital archives with only selected manuscripts. Decisions related to improving the bottom line, rather than location, often determine access to resources. For example: databases drop full text journals, journal prices increase astronomically when independent and scholarly societies sell their journal to for-profit publishers; essential primary sources are digitized and sold with a price point only the wealthiest institutions can afford. Today access to resources, even in terms of interlibrary loan, often depends more on copyright, licensing agreements, and cost than actual physical holdings. This article will examine the affects of the cost and availability of information (both free, for instance Hathi Trust and fee, for instance Ebsco databases, resources), the variety of resources (digital, e-books, Google Scholar, institutional repositories), and the changes this new pattern of resource availability on historical scholarship.” (Suggested by Jenny Presnell and Sara Morris)

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 1 51) Collaborative Bibliographies, Social Reading and Writing: “Social bookmarking tools such as Diigo and social bibliography tools such as Zotero enable researchers to curate and share research materials, but to what extent does such software foster social reading and collaborative writing? Through social reading, readers participate in a conversation with the text, each other, and even the author. Using Diigo, researchers can create groups, share their bookmarks, and write notes as part the metadata records for items that they bookmark. Moreover, they can add highlights and sticky notes directly to web pages, making these annotations visible to other Diigo users and engaging in discussions even in (or on top of) web spaces that don’t allow comments. Similarly, with Zotero users can set up public or private groups to share citations with students, colleagues, or fellow researchers. Zotero also provides social networking features, including the ability to set up a profile, ‘follow’ other users, and invite others to join your group. Both tools make visible an important part of the research process, collecting and curating resources. Furthermore, annotation and discussion are themselves forms of writing that often grow out of reading. To understand the impact that social bibliography and bookmarking tools are having on historical writing, I plan to do case studies of three Zotero groups and three Diigo groups that focus on some aspect of history. I will analyze the types of citations that these groups have collected, what kinds of annotations they make and tags they use, and the extent to which annotation leads to conversation. I will also interview participants in the groups to explore what motivates them to contribute, what impact the collective bibliography has had on their research and writing, and how they might improve both the tools and the workflow. How do Zotero and Diigo differ? Is annotation and commentary a form of publication? In what ways do collective bibliographies foster more formal writing, such as books and articles? To what extent do these groups build a social identity, and what facilitates the development of such bonds? What protocols have emerged that govern additions, deletions, and tagging? Through this study, I hope to develop a better understanding of research as a social phenomenon and analyze the relationship between reading and writing as public processes.” (Suggested by Lisa Spiro; see also #3 and #5)

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 3 52) Rethinking how and why we publish: Why do historians publish? If you’ve submitted a scholarly journal article or signed a book contract with an academic press, let’s face it: your primary motivator is not money. Rather, we publish primarily because we desire to share our ideas with others. But here’s the puzzle: why are so many historians reluctant to publish on the open web? For a fast and freely accessible means of scholarly communication that maximizes the distribution of knowledge, it’s hard to beat the Internet. The problem is not the scarcity, but rather, the surplus of scholarship, as Kathleen Fitzpatrick has argued. Faced with too many articles, books, and websites to read, we rely on “filters” to focus our limited time and mental energy. Scholars crave good writing, but when looking for quick signals to sort which works have merit, we (and our tenure committees) tend to confuse quality with other characteristics, such as status and marketability. Ask yourself this question: When you first visited this website or considered submitting an essay idea, were your eyes drawn to the phrase, “under contract with the University of Michigan Press”? Would you have responded in the same way if the label had simply stated, “published on Jack and Kristen’s website”? Furthermore, after landing on this website, were you motivated to read all the way down to this entry (somewhere beyond topic #50) because of the label of institutional recognition, or the quality of ideas and scholarly community it demonstrated? Building on my earlier thinking on this topic, my essay will reflect on this and other experiments in open-access scholarly web publishing (such as MediaCommons and the newly announced PressForward by the Center for History and New Media), and also examine the unseen and underfunded work of editing and filtering scholarly writing, as historians and other scholars rethink how and why we publish in the digital age. (Suggested by Jack Dougherty; see also #2)

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 53) Writing History in Chunks: Ever since Herodotus began scratching out his Histories more than 2,500 years ago, historians have been writing linear text that is narrative in both form and content. Because form and content are separable in the digital environment, digital writing simply is not the same as writing for print. With the advent of technologies like XML and CSS, the form that historians’ writing takes is now entirely malleable, which might make one think that the data structures undergirding our work matter less. In fact, they matter more. We all know that production values count in the digital realm in ways they do not in print, but only rarely do we write in pixels with issues of form in the forefront of our consciousness. We propose a chapter that considers what it means for historians to write differently than they have for the past two millennia. If we were constrained by a more generous character limit than the 140 imposed by Twitter—say 500, 600, or 700 characters—how would our writing change? Will the chunking of text that is so essential to good writing for online spaces change the way we make history? What happens to the making of history if, while we write a series of 600 character chunks, others are commenting on them? Who owns those comments and how are they incorporated into our analysis? Does the nature of our analysis and argument change if those chunks are rearranged according to the ways they are marked up? What happens to history when we permit and encourage others to reuse and re-purpose our work in a variety of ways? And what if we invite others to do more than comment? What if we invite them to add their own text or mark up ours? Is the social compact between author and reader that Roy Rosenzweig described in the middle of the last decade broken or enhanced by these opportunities? We propose not only to address these difficult questions, but also to create an interface through the WordPress publishing platform that facilitates this sort of short form writing about the past. (Suggested by Mills Kelly and Jeremy Boggs; see also #4)

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 1 54) Citation, Metadata, and the Undergraduate History Essay: “Metadata has long been at the center of historical writing, though historians usually call it citations.  And it is this metadata, at base, that gives historical writing so much of its power by connecting our work both to the original sources and to the ideas of other historians, thus advancing the conversation that is historiography.  Digital media presents opportunities for both citations and other kinds of metadata to take on increasingly greater significance in historical scholarship.  Our essay would explore some of these opportunities by considering the role of metadata in the History Engine (http://historyengine.richmond.edu), an online project containing thousands of historical vignettes about the American past. Each semester for the past several years, undergraduate students from colleges and universities across the continent have researched, written, and contributed these vignettes—what we call ‘episodes’—to the History Engine.  Much of their writing process remains fairly conventional, and their episodes retain all the hallmarks of traditional historical writing: close analysis, attention to historical context, citation of source materials, etc.  What differentiates a History Engine episode from a traditional history essay is the additional metadata that each student authors to describe her episode, metadata that specifies when it happened, where it happened, and its key topics.  This metadata immediately places her work into conversation the work of others in the History Engine.  It allows each episode to be linked into a larger network, connected to other historical episodes that happened near the same time, near the same place, and involved similar issues. The benefits of thinking about historical writing with metadata beyond the citation are still emerging, yet we see three: students can quickly engage with their peers writing about the same time and place across the country; historians and others can find citations to the sometimes-obscure primary sources simply by navigating the database by using the metadata visualizations; and all who come to the project can explore visualizations (maps, timelines, and tag clouds) generated not from the text of episodes but from their metadata.  This final benefit strikes us as having the most significant potential implications.  As metadata becomes a customary component of historical writing increasing opportunities emerge for distant or computational readings of large subsets of historical writing that might provide us a broader view of the past and our study of the past.” (Suggested by Rob Nelson, Scott Nesbit, and Andrew J. Torget; see also #11 and #12)

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 55) Historiography and Interface Design: “There’s no shortage of scholarship on how the form of historical writing affects its meaning. From Herodotus to Hayden White, historiographers have alternately embraced and abandoned scholarly forms like narrative, biography, and postmodernist discursions. But what if the scholarship is digital and interactive? That is to say, what if the scholarly product requires the ‘reader’ to engage electronically with the work? Such is the case with any number of digital scholarly projects, but we haven’t yet developed a robust critical apparatus for evaluating the form and design of these works. What importance, for example, should we place on ease of use? Should a challenging idea require a challenging interface? Is ‘transparency’ — the impression of an invisible interface — a desirable characteristic, or a deceptive effacing of method? In this essay, I propose to consider a range of digital scholarly works, from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Voyages Database to the Vectors journal. I’ll consider both how previous historiography might inform our understanding of these projects and whether we should develop a new historiographical vocabulary to suit these new scholarly objects.” (Suggested by Miriam Posner)

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 1 56) Change and Resistance to It: Digital History and the Professional as Personal: “Much of the recent writing about the digital humanities has implored humanities scholars (in the words of Dan Cohen), ‘to think less like humanities scholars and more like’ someone else (in Cohen’s example, social scientists). Indeed, many of the proposals above include the implicit or explicit suggestion that – if they’re not doing so already — historians can and should work differently, think differently and indeed write differently than they have in the past. But does ‘can’ automatically mean ‘should’ or even ‘must’? What sorts of resistance do these calls for change engender, and why? Is it simply a case of humans being change averse (historians more than others?), or are there additional motivations and forces at play? In exploring these questions, my essay will examine, among other things, depictions of change and of tradition in digital history discourses and the importance –perhaps even the primacy — of the personal in scholarly work, especially in writing.” (Suggested by Kristen Nawrotzki)

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 1 57) Writing Chicana/o History with the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project: “In the Digital History Age, it is possible to introduce historical narratives that had previously been neglected and or marginalized. I hope to write an essay on the evolution of the ‘Chicana/o History Project in Washington State’ in the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History project and how it has profoundly impacted and contested not only the American Southwest-Centric Chicana/o and Mexican American History Discipline, but also the larger narrative on social history and movements within the scope of traditional historical disciplines. Given the demographic shift on the Pacific Coast with Latinos now being the largest ethnic minority and the previous marginalization of the history of social movements of people of color in the Pacific Northwest, the Chicana/o Movement Project has influenced not only how Mexican American history is taught, but also brought this regional narrative out from the academic margins and has led to increased interest in Mexican American historical research in the State of Washington.” (Suggested by Oscar Rosales Castaneda; see also #34)

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 3 58) Just Because It’s Digital Doesn’t Make it Different: “In our work on a website combining interpretive content with primary sources material in order to illustrate two 20th century civil rights events in Philadelphia, we have periodically speculated about the project’s purpose and impact.  Have we ‘published’ the digital equivalent of a 20th century textbook without taking advantage of new tools and functionalities that would enhance the user’s experience?  Are the two sides of the site–interpretation/context and primary source material–separated because of traditional definitions and roles?  Are historians still driving content and archivists still serving up the raw material of history?  Will users find ways to work across these two silos in ways that tradition and technology has not yet allowed us to do?  Have we supplied too much context and is it impeding creative use of the source material?  Will the digitized raw material survive long beyond the front matter?  Will users re-purpose the archival material in ways we haven’t considered?  How can we encourage and measure user empowerment?  How can we make the site truly interactive and stop talking to ourselves?  We need to explore how digital humanities projects can use the digital environment to make the user experience different/better and what other disciplines and communities (such as the scientific community and their successful use of crowd-sourcing) are doing that might work for us.” (Suggested by Margery Sly and Hillary Kativa; see also #8, #14, #15, #20).

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 59) Relational Databases and Historical Writing: “Picking up on themes in posts #41 and #43, I would like to propose an article on the specific opportunities and challenges of designing relational databases to hold and analyze historical research.  Relational databases are profoundly powerful tools, for a very small subset of humanities data — namely information that can be broken down into discrete units and then reconnected without undue loss of context or meaning.   A relational data structure is essentially a normative structure of reality, a series of statements on what the world contains and how it operates.  Historians today tend to avoid overarching explanations or meta-narratives, but databases push us to make concrete, upfront assessments of our subject matter — often before our research is even complete.  How then do these structures affect our writing?  Do they reappear in chapter orders, in introductions, or do they completely structure a final prose work in more subtle ways?  How also, do we deal with how databases (and computers in general) represent time and chronological calculations.  Does that affect our analysis for better or worse?” (Suggested by Jean Bauer)

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 60) The Composing Processes of Writing History Digitally: “Many of the proposed essays deal with the resultant products of writing history—from new genres and types of media to issues of source accessibility and credibility. I think an essay on the composing processes of writing history digitally would be a nice accompaniment. History in the digital age is made as historians compose. This essay would address several compositional questions regarding the rhetorical, framing and compositional decisions made as a historians cross and gain facility in platforms, devices and digital tools. What affordances of varied media and modes are historians keen on taking advantage of and which seem trite and inappropriate? When and why do historians telescope in to compose within a single mode and expand out to compose, position and layer several modes together? What is considered necessary to maintain in print or image and what is deemed appropriate for transduction from one format or mode to another? What parallel digital activities (such as Twitter feeds or blogging) have influence on the composing of historical texts? What aspects of a message do historians take into consideration when communicating online for varied audiences—particular, interactive, unknown, and endlessly possible? Where, when and with whom do digitally composing historians seek mentorship and feedback? I propose that I interview a few of the contributing authors who have digital projects regarding their digital composing processes. My essay would be a distillation of the contributing authors processes and will include suggestions for understanding what it means to do history in the digital age.” (Suggested by Anna Smith; see also #2 and #12)

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 1 61) Collaborative Historical Writing in a Digital World: Students Write Wikipedia: “Scott Payne [and I] and two recent students … will explore aspects of collaborative work in the digital world as students contribute work to Wikipedia. In my survey of U.S. women’s history I ask students to critique an article in Wikipedia for its content, sources and tone, and for their final project, they edit significantly an established article or develop one on their own. Two of the purposes are to increase the presence of historical material on women in the encyclopedia and to teach students about the careful creation of historical knowledge, but the third and more complex purpose is to introduce them to negotiating over their  production  of historical knowledge. Scott helps students to understand and navigate the preliminary protocol necessary for editing “established” articles that are usually patrolled by several self-appointed editors. Our students encounter cooperation or resistance depending on their selection of topic and their intended contribution. The article will discuss the collaborations between students and the editors whose preferences and ideologies “protect” the perimeters of many Wikipedia entries. It will also explore the experience students have writing material over which they do not have complete control, for an unknown public, rather than a relatively predictable professor. And, finally, there is the question of evaluating the significance of contributing to an encyclopedia that is by nature subject to the pressures of popular opinion and memory (see essay 21). What is gained and what is lost in the exchanges over content and tone that can precede the editing of entries with material that can be viewed ideologically? What do we learn about our history?
” (Suggested by Martha Saxton and Scott Payne; see also #6 and #18.)

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 62) The newspaper database as a form of both inclusiveness and exclusion: “This paper will focus on the recent announcement by Google News that it would stop supporting its historical newspaper selections. Google had earlier launched partnerships with ProQuest and Heritage Microfilm to digitize their collections. Google also bought Cold North Wind’s Paper of Record collection. What makes this particular case so interesting is that Cold North Wind had acquired its Canadian content through an agreement with the Canadian Library Association for access to its microfilmed newspaper collection. The complicated weaving of access from public institutions to a series of private corporations reiterates what Roy Rosenzweig described as ‘the fragility of evidence in the digital era,’ as many researchers suddenly found they could no longer access archives upon which they had based on their research. The paper will consider the epistemological and democratic potentials lost and gained by this changing form …[as a way of examining] the conditions within which historical writing can take place. What I’m proposing is an analysis of the politicization of knowledge, which, as Harold Innis has argued, always occurs when monopolies of information are created. In some ways, the issue is even bigger than the question of access. But what I think is worth analyzing is the way that the question is *framed* as one of access. For instance, if you take a look at the Google Forum pages when Google took over PaperofRecord.com’s holdings, the issue is discussed solely within the purview of Google ‘doing no harm,’ which is close to their ostensible motto (‘Don’t be evil’). But the entire conversation lacked any serious consideration of a more fundamental question: what does it mean to leave part of our documentary heritage in the hands of a private corporation? How does the shift from a conception of the newspaper record as a public good (i.e. a library holding) to a private good, to be sold bit by bit, impact the way we write history?” (Suggested by Sandra Gabriele; see also #24 and #63)

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 63) Data Driven History: Writing History by the Numbers? “At the present time, writing history means reading sources and secondary literature, analyzing images, making excerpts and then, finally, writing a text with an introduction, arguments and a conclusion. The product is a linear text, possibly with some illustration, tables and a lot of footnotes. In the context of Digital History it seems to be possible that this setting might change. For a year or two we can keep track of an increasing amount of historically relevant digital data, downloadable online in a machine readable form. The best known example is the Ngram Viewer from Google used to analyze the immense bulk of digitized books according to statistical distribution and patterns. Similar gateways are accessible from JSTOR, Hathitrust and other data collectors. What are their implications for writing history?” (Suggested by Peter Haber; see also #8, #24 and #62)

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 64) “[I]t is only with MS in hand that the real meaning of the text becomes apparent” “This claim by Tristram Hunt, a historian turned Labour MP, in a newspaper article prompted by the British Library-Google tie-up putting some 250,000 books online, helped me to focus my thoughts for a proposal that heretofore were ranging over the technological terrain that I have traversed over a number of years […]. Not being a historian by training I came to historical texts with an enthusiasm for CAQDAS picked up as a qualitative researcher, as a means of indexing, coding and retrieving text. There is now a considerable range of such applications with university departments tending to support one of the – usually expensive – alternatives. In my experience, few graduate students ever use these applications finding the cost and steep learning curve needed a significant barrier. At the heart of the matter is the question of how meaning is produced from texts and how might interpretation be given plausibility. These are age old questions in historiography made especially pertinent by a massive increase in the sources available and applications that hold out some hope of being able to analyse them without falling over into positivism or the Romantic position of Hunt which seems to rely on some process of osmosis masquerading as erudition.
 What I would like to propose, contra Hunt, is a discussion of Ricoeur’s contention that, ‘An interpretation must not only be probable, but more probable than another interpretation’ with reference to a number of select applications that enable the coding and retrieving of historical – and other – documents.” (Suggested by Kevin Brehony; See also #23, #27, #30, #33, #50, #53, #60).

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 65) Youth and Digital History: What happens when a cultural historian teams up with an undergraduate engineer to develop a summer school learning experience for at-risk middle-school students? Can digital history help middle-school students gain the technology skills they need to succeed in the 21st century as well as an appreciation for the past?
 Walltown is a historically-black working-class community that lies north of Duke University’s East Campus in Durham, North Carolina. George Wall, the community’s founder, was a former slave who moved to Durham in the 1890s to serve as a custodian for Trinity College. Wall’s family resided near Trinity College and eventually other working-class African Americans settled on adjoining lots. Today, the Walltown neighborhood is in the throes of revitalization—home ownership rates are rising, crime rates have fallen. One challenge remains, however:… the digital divide persists in Durham [with disparities in computer and internet access and proficiency. … Drawing on the support of university, community, and corporate resources, I created a five-week summer learning experience in digital history for at-risk middle-school students at a local charter school. I designed the Walltown Neighborhood History Project to address the expressed needs of the Walltown community whose members sought quality summer enrichment activities for their youth. I wanted to create an educational experience through which students built their competencies in technology skills, while also developing expertise in working with primary materials like federal census data and historic maps. The Walltown Neighborhood History Project provided students a foundation in local history together with instruction in core technology skills such as word processing, databases, and spreadsheets—as well as instruction in web 2.0 tools like Google Earth and VoiceThread. At the close of the summer program, students made a public presentation of their interactive map of historic Walltown to members of the Durham community, including several descendants of George Wall. (Suggested by Trudi Abel; see also #8, #13, #31, #61)

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 66) Rethinking the Digital History Textbook: “Digital technology can revolutionize the history textbook as we know it. Publishers are already rolling out digital editions that incorporate opportunities for interactivity and media supplements; such features are useful but deeply limited. Current digital technologies, put in service of the research into historical thinking by Samuel Wineburg and others, offer the opportunity to rethink the history textbook in radical new ways. This essay will explore how historians and educators can create a new model for history learning that will use digital tools to foster historical thinking skills, as well as deep understanding and inquiry into historical content.” (Suggested by Ellen Noonan)

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 1 67) Is the Internet ‘the new millennium for oral history’?: “It is recognised that ‘the Internet is now an integral part of all academic disciplines’ (Selwyn 2002). In 1999 (Gluck et al.) the internet was hailed as ‘the new millennium for oral history.’ This essay will explore some of the ways in which the internet has changed oral history and to what extent. This essay will consider the relationship between the internet and the nature and purposes of oral history. It will particularly focus on the notions of democratisation and construction of social identities through oral history. It will address online oral history methods and forms of presentation, with focus on instant messaging interviews, online discussion forums, testimonial monologues and blogging. It will consider issues of ethics, validity and bias pertaining to online oral history. Finally, it will discuss what the future may hold for online oral history and whether, in the face of technological developments and potential energy crisis, the age of online oral history could span a millennium.” (Suggested by Charlotte Rochez)

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 68) Writing and Curation as Digital Publishing: The American Pandemic Experience as Case Study. “I am a Digital Librarian at the Center for the History of Medicine (historical research unit of the University of Michigan Medical School) and we, in partnership with MPublishing, are building a digital repository of archival materials curated by historians. The project is unusual and particularly complex because, while all the documents are archival primary sources, most of the materials that we’ve digitized are already surrogates. For several years, we gathered materials–scans, photocopies, scans and photocopies of microfilm–from repositories around the country while collecting research for a formal report commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This project will bring all of these materials together, making them searchable and accessible from a single repository. Our repository will also feature original essays … of about 2,000 words each, written by our project manager and staff writer … that tell what happened in U.S. cities during the epidemic, along with interactive (hyperlinked) timelines. The project is aimed at a wide-ranging audience that encompasses high school and college students, historians and social scientists, epidemiologists and public health practitioners, journalists and writers, and informed internet users. 
My colleague Rebecca Welzenbach (Digital Publishing Projects Manager at MPublishing) and I are interested in writing about the process of building our repository and examining it as a case study. A press release about our project is available here.” Suggested by Julie Judkins, with Rebecca Welzenbach.

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 146 69) Have a new idea for an essay theme? Post it here with the commenting tool. Selected themes will be moved to the body of this page, with attribution to the author, to focus discussion on key topics for the emerging volume. – Co-editors Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 70) The open invitation phase of our volume has ended. All readers are encouraged to comment on topics above. We are NOT accepting new essay ideas at this time, but prospective contributors may directly contact an author above to propose a way in which they might collaborate on an existing essay idea, subject to approval by the author. -Co-editors Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki

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Source: http://writinghistory.trincoll.edu/evolution/discuss/