Digital History & AHA 2015

Far from being in New York for this year’s AHA conference, I was visiting family in Texas. Nonetheless, two things were fairly clear from roughly 1800 miles away: digital history projects were getting some attention, and conference attendees were, thankfully, tweeting conference away.

As a side note to the rest of this post, I want to thank everyone who tweeted from AHA and from every conference. Not only is it a great tool for those attending conferences, but it is a great resource for the rest of us who are  unable for one reason or another to attend a given conference. In fact, I probably could not write this post if it were not for the AHA attendees who tweeted panels, projects, papers, thoughts, questions, and answers.

To begin, let’s just look at the panels that were exclusively (based on the online program) on digital history:

And needless to say, there were digital projects and methods presented on panels that were not exclusively on digital history. But we can’t stop there those who presented at the Digital Projects Lightning Round. You can see a complete list of the projects with short descriptions here – with the added bonus that the projects are linked to their respected websites.

In addition to the AHA’s list of participants, check out Anelise H. Shrout’s list on of Digital Projects at the AHA on her blog, especially since she includes projects from the associated THATCamp as well.

Finally, you can attend, as it were, the Getting Started in Digital History Workshop via Jason M. Kelly’s blog.

Coming soon: posts on mapping and teaching from AHA and other sources!


Digital Tools in the Classroom



    A colleague included an assignment using Timeline JS in her urban history class this past semester and said it was a great success. Basically, Timeline creates web-based timeline presentations into which you can easily embed links, YouTube clips, images, and so on. It’s intuitive, and the main page includes a number of examples created by Time, Le Monde, and other news outlets.



    A text-analysis tool into which you can cut and paste text, or provide a website URL. Voyant will provide word counts, word frequency, contextual information, and visualization tools (word clouds, graphs, etc.) that you can download or share online. I’ve heard that you can enter, say, five Jane Austen novels or the collected works of Thoreau, and while it goes slowly, it will still work with that amount of text. One suggested use I’ve heard for a history class is analyzing the language in the United States’ Declaration of Independence and the France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

Weekly roundup: December 6

  • It’s not by any means new, having been online since 2008, but I spent a bit of time exploring the collection from the Civil Rights Digital Library the other day.


In the near future, I will be chronicling my attempts (both successes and failures!) to learn various digital tools and methods in historical research projects.

Before those posts begin, most of the updates to this blog will be on the links page, which I’m constructing as an annotated bibliography for both online and print sources on digital scholarship (but mainly online).

In the meantime, here’s computer literate panda: