Raw Carnival News


For fans of the History Carnival and Del.icio.us:

You can now nominate posts for the carnival by simply bookmarking and tagging them with historycarnival. They’ll appear on a special Carnival Uncooked page, to be reviewed by the upcoming host.

(This is thanks to an idea suggested to me a very long time ago by, I think, Alun Salt (apparently not) or maybe Jeremy Boggs??? – with apologies for taking so long to take it up that I can’t be sure who it was now. If you were that person, let me know…)

Interactive digital history


Well, I’m off to a conference today, in case you’d all forgotten. (I appear not to have plugged it much lately. Very remiss of me.) Below is the abstract for my paper and a few (!) links I’ve put together, some of which may be used to string together my “ideas”, and some of which are just things I happened upon while reading. Comments welcome, especially if they prove the thesis that interactivity is the coolest thing on the planet.


Digital History 2.0? Collaboration, community and interactivity in the digitisation of history

One of the loudest buzzwords of the last few years has been “Web 2.0”. There’s much debate over exactly what this means, but at the core of the concept is the ideal of dynamic content, interactivity and participation by web audiences. Wikipedia is perhaps the most (in)famous example so far, while newspapers are falling over themselves to allow readers of their websites to have their say. But does all this offer anything useful for historians? It has been suggested that ‘interactive’ digital history might transform historical practice, creating ‘new forms of collaboration, new modes of debate, and new modes of collecting evidence about the past’. The National Archives has set up a community wiki to draw on the experience of researchers in order to extend and expand on its online catalogue and digital content; there are growing numbers of online archives, such as the new Great War Archive, built entirely or substantially on public contributions of written texts, images, oral histories, and so on. The Old Bailey Proceedings Online has attracted a wide range of researchers – academics and non-academics alike – since its inception, many of whom have accumulated specialised knowledge that could enrich the site as a resource. This paper explores the potential benefits – and possible pitfalls – of opening up digital history resources to user-generated content and metadata.

Web 2.0

What is Web 2.0? (Tim O’Reilly)



Diary of Samuel Pepys


Your Archives
*Crime and Punishment category
*Transportation of Mary Wade aged 10

Library of Congress Photos on Flickr

Also Picture Australia

The Great War Archive

The September 11 Archive

Hurrican Digital Memory Bank

Moving Here

Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front


Library Thing


AHA Archives Wiki


Digital History (Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig)

The Pirate Problem (Dan Cohen)

Digitisation and its discontents (Antony Grafton)

Everyone’s a Historian Now

The changing role of intellectual authority (Peter Nicholson)

The bottom is not enough

Semantic Networks and Historical Knowledge Management

The rise of crowdsourcing

Digital Research Tools (DiRT)

Using Wiki in Education

Ontology is overrated (Clay Shirky)

Broad and narrow folksonomies (Thomas Vander Wal)

Folksonomy explanations

Folksonomy (Shirky)

Folksonomy: social classification (Gene Smith)

Folksonomies/metadata ecologies (Louis Rosenfeld)

Folksonomic solution to record linkage

Tags Help Make Libraries Del.icio.us

Metadata for the masses

Taxonomies and Trees

Overview of Social Bookmarking Tools

Social tools, components for success

Why some social networks work and others don’t

The Cornucopia of the Commons






Collaborative Transcription and Annotation

Archival transcriptions: for the public, by the public

Crowdsourced Transcription and Collaborative Annotation

Crowdsourcing transcriptions

Collaborative Manuscript Transcription

Recently noted around the web


What I’ve been reading online lately…

Mmm… Marginalia: The Games Medievals Play ~ Got Medieval
  more medieval marginalia

Poor decision on an epic scale in

Ooops — Missed Anniversary: Darwin/Wallace edition
  Thomas Levenson on the 150th anniversary

History Carnival 66
  join the debates!

Mind the gap: did Darwin avoid publishing his theory for many years?
  … short answer: no

  history of world fairs and exhibitions since 1850

Four Years is a long time in Blogland


I forgot about my fourth blogiversary in June. My fourth anniversary at this location (and using WordPress) comes up at the end of July.

Some things hardly seem to have changed at all. There were presidential elections that year too. We’ll have to hope for a better result this time around.

Other things have changed a lot. So many blogs I loved in 2004 that no longer exist or are quite different now.

And there were a lot of history blogs that started up around the same time as me: happy 4th birthday to all of you who’re still plugging away!

So, is there anyone still reading who’s been here right from the beginning? (Can’t say I would blame you if you’d got bored by now…)

Time for a good demolition job


This list of The Top 100 Liberal Arts Professor Blogs has been getting linked around.

I’m not sure why. It is a pile of stinking poo.

1. Basic errors. It lists ‘Another Damned Medievalist’ as an ‘English’ blog. I think ADM will be surprised to discover that she’s been relocated to the English department when she gets back from her London research trip. She would probably also want to point out that her blog is in fact called Blogenspiel (ADM is her handle).

2. A number of the blogs listed are inactive. Miriam Jones’s original scribblingwoman blog has been defunct for some time; Miriam now has a newer blog elsewhere. The English Eclectic hasn’t been updated since December 2007 (and was never very prolific, that I can recall; and, although it was quite a nice little blog, there are more than 100 blogs that are better). These are just ones I know about. The most recent post at a blog is at the very top of the front page, for god’s sake; it takes a split second to discover that no one’s been at home for months.

3. Crappy conceptualisation. 30 of the blogs are under the heading ‘English’. That appears to mean ‘in an English department’ (except when they’re not: see 1 above). This is in contrast to otherwise mostly specific discipline headings such as ‘sociology’, ‘history’, ‘philosophy’, etc. ‘English’ is not terribly helpful or meaningful, given the breadth of interests you can find in English departments. They also seem to have failed to grasp the concept of a group blog populated by members of different disciplines: Crooked Timber is listed under Philosophy. Which isn’t entirely wrong but doesn’t do CT’s range of interests any justice.

4. ‘Professor’ blogs? Some of the best ‘liberal arts’ blogs I know are not written by academic staff, but by postgrad students. There is something just not right about a list of academic blogs that (by definition) excludes blogs like Acephalous and Airminded. (I won’t pick on the UScentricness of the terminology since the site is primarily aimed at that market. Non-US readers should be aware, though, that ‘Liberal Arts’ has a particular meaning, which isn’t the same as ‘Arts’; and ‘professor’ in US universities refers to any member of faculty, not just the most senior people.)

5. I don’t want to get too much into inevitably subjective judgments about the quality of the blogs listed and what should be in and what should be out, but it is being presented as a serious ‘reviews and ratings’ site, not just personal opinions, so I will say: anyone who thinks those 10 history blogs are the top 10 in the blogosphere, even if you only include ‘professors’, is an ignoramus.*

6. And a final thing: the list in fact contains 101 entries, not 100. (There are two blogs listed under 73.) So they can’t count or correctly format an ordered list either.

I’m not fond of lists like this at the best of times, but I think this has to be the most incompetently conceived, sloppily executed, downright utterly worthless effort I have seen in four years of blogging. Now will people stop linking to it as though it might be a useful resource, please?**


*I’ve just realised that could be ambiguous. I don’t mean that all of the 10 are unworthy of being in such a list. A few definitely should be in anybody’s top 10. Several, however, are simply not in that sort of league.

**And before you say anything, I’ve added rel=nofollow to the link at the top. They ain’t gettin’ no pagerank from me.