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Historical Scholarship in the Digital Age

Tool Review: Google Earth for Digital Historians

With tools like Google Earth, historians can construct interactive and engaging forms of history. Users can generate graphical representations of events to visually convey events. For instance, Google and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) collaborated to spread awareness of the genocide in Darfur [link]. The overlay they generated includes descriptive HTML that presents users with first-hand testimonies, pictures, the locations of refugee camps, and links to video clips. The Darfur map included an overlay that could be turned on that displayed 3D columns to visually represent the numbers of displaced persons. Teachers may speak of 200,000 displaced individuals, but to visually represent such numbers conveys greater weight to a subject. The same approach could be taken with historical events, such as using columns to display war casualties in World War II or the location and relevant information of Nazi death camps. Additionally, students could get an idea of how early cartographers viewed the planet with the Dave Rumsey historical maps [link] or explore the geographic and historical data related to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake [link].

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Filed under: Scholarship, Tools, , , , , ,

78 Terabyte Library

Wired:

Twenty three universities have agreed to share and combine their digitized content, including millions of scanned books and documents, in one gigantic, 78-terabyte library that launched Monday.

Called the HathiTrust, the depository contains digital content from 11 University of California libraries and a 12-university consortium that forms the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which includes the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago.

Before the HathiTrust launched, digital content was isolated to each university library, according to John Wilkin, associate university librarian of the University of Michigan, who was named the executive director of HathiTrust.

“This effort combines the expertise and resources of some of the nation’s foremost research libraries and holds even greater promise as it seeks to grow beyond the initial partners,” Wilkin said in a press release.

[photo credit]

Filed under: Books, Libraries, ,

Kindle as a Metaphore for the History Web

Amazon is featuring on its main page that the Kindle is shipping right away after months of being back ordered because of insufficient production to meet the demand. Also, they’ve published their letter to shareholders (PDF alert), which focuses almost exclusively on the Kindle. Reading the letter, it sounds like Jeff Bezos has some big plans for going completely electronic. More below the jump.

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Filed under: Books, Scholarship, , ,

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