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Brian Sarnacki Posts

Wikipedia Gender Gap Follow Up

Shane Landrum: After positive feedback on my earlier post about Wikipedia, including a nice post by Knitting Clio, I’ve just started a formal WikiProject to work on improving Wikipedia coverage of women’s history. It’s called WikiProject Women’s History, also accessible by the shortcut WP:WMNHIST. Anyone can participate, but I’d particularly love to see more professional scholars get involved. I know that there’s significant opposition to Wikipedia in some academic quarters, but I think that the information there isn’t going to get better unless people who actually know this stuff start pitching in. I’d really like WikiProject Women’s History to deploy… Read Wikipedia Gender Gap Follow Up

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Programming Guides

The programming historian, William Turkel, provides a good list of resources (they appear to be various blog posts) for any humanities scholar interested in learning programming.

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Support the NEH

Don’t let the National Endowment for the Humanities become a casualty of political posturing. Tell your elected officials you support the NEH.

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What Grad Students Need

I applied to continue onto the Ph.D. program at UNL this semester and it got me thinking about what I would have know about grad school before beginning. I had lots of good advice, but most of it was from personal conversations. All that I could find online was either non-department specific or not that great, so I have created a list of what I would recommend all graduate students in history (most of it applicable to other humanities disciplines though). My list includes a good number of items, so I borrowed Cold Stone Creamery’s sizes to organize the things… Read What Grad Students Need


What Makes a Good Digital History Project?

To me, there are three main elements, often working in tandem, that comprise a good digital history project: Analysis, Interactivity, Visualizations. Like any piece of history, digital history needs source-based, informed scholarly analysis. Analysis in print history takes on roughly the same form for any article or book, but in the digital medium, analysis can take on a variety of shapes and sizes. When it comes to picking out exemplary digital history projects, the more innovative the approach to analysis the better. Richmond’s Voting America project, which examines election and population data from 1840 through 2008, takes an interesting approach… Read What Makes a Good Digital History Project?


Wikipedia’s Gender Gap

Noam Cohen of the New York Times Even the most famous fashion designers — Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo — get but a handful of paragraphs. And consider the disparity between two popular series on HBO: The entry on “Sex and the City” includes only a brief summary of every episode, sometimes two or three sentences; the one on “The Sopranos” includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode. Is a category with five Mexican feminist writers impressive, or embarrassing when compared with the 45 articles on characters in “The Simpsons”? I think the quote above shows why user driven content… Read Wikipedia’s Gender Gap

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Colleague in ProfHacker

Ryan Cordell at ProfHacker: Next—and more directly germane to digital humanities work—is “The Rubyist Historian.” Jason Heppler, a graduate student in the history department at the University of Nebraska, recently began using his blog “to write an accessible introduction to Ruby and demonstrate not only how to write small programs but also think about ways programming can help scholars in their everyday tasks.” Jason’s guide is accessible, even to a complete novice like me. Another well deserved shout out for my colleague Jason Heppler, who has just completed an e-book guide to introduce programming to historians. Another interesting side note… Read Colleague in ProfHacker

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Resource Management in the Digital Humanities

Andrew Piper: As part of its arrival — as part of the hum of digital humanities — I’d like to see some more reflection by those of us involved with digital humanities with the question of the appropriate use of resources in a world of increasingly scarce resources. Committing high levels of resources to one area means there is going to be less in another. Such investment is going to create hierarchies within institutions, very pronounced ones, far more pronounced than currently exist, say, between English and German departments, again, at a time when funding is in short supply and… Read Resource Management in the Digital Humanities

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Build it and they will come

The crisis in the humanities is a well discussed topic, at least inside the humanities. The humanities are often seen as less important than departments that bring in money from the federal government or private businesses looking to turn a profit. These (like engineering and the sciences) departments produce “useful” and “practical” things while the humanities are just abstract. Frankly, this view of knowledge simply isn’t true (there may be a future blog post about why we need the humanities). While I abhor the commercialization of education, knowledge, learning, etc., I did begin wondering if there was money to be… Read Build it and they will come


The Social Network of 19th Century Brit Lit

I came across this interesting project via twitter. While the exact approach does not carry over to history (the project visualized a social network using the dialogue in 19th century British novels, but, unfortunately, most of the “dialogue” of history gets lost), it makes the project I am working on for my digital history seminar (visualizing social and political networks) seem more timely. I just wish they put the project online (or if they have done so, provided a link).

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