Digital Clio

Icon

Historical Scholarship in the Digital Age

The WHA: A Debrief

The Nebraska CrewTM made it back safely from Salt Lake, where a group of us attended the WHA Conference. I think I can speak for the group when I say we had a blast.  Additionally, the digital history panel went as well as we could’ve hoped.  There were a couple of problems.  Unfortunately, Dr. Seefeldt was unable to join us and Nathan lost his voice (though regained enough of it to present) and we didn’t have wireless Internet, the panel went off without a hitch and generated some great discussion.  And having Dr. Richard White comment on the panelists was a real honor.  If you weren’t able to attend, check out Doing Digital History to catch up on the three presentations and add some comments.  My guess is one of us will be doing at least one more post about the conference at DDH.

The remainder of the conference was great as well, although I wish the panels hadn’t been spread out between two buildings.  And there might have been a more appropriate hotel to host the conference at.  The Marriott was built for the 2002 Olympics and designed to maximize the number of people they could fit into the building rather than designed for conferences, so the conference rooms were small and almost every panel I attended had people standing during the presentations.  Overall, however, a positive experience for my first WHA conference.

In other news, I’ve picked up the diminutive and cheap Dell Mini 9 and have to say I’m really impressed so far.  I had debated between the Dell, HP Mini-Note PC, and Asus Eee PC for a while before deciding on Dell.  I’ve had good experiences with Dell throughout the years I’ve been using them and decided to stay loyal.  Part of the reason I enjoy the Mini 9 so much is that it’s running Linux (Ubuntu 8.04), though you can pick one up that runs Windows XP.  I’ve become a great fan of open source.  Linux runs better than XP and is powerful enough for my needs (my desktop runs XP which I use for my high-powered computing needs).  I’ve been a Windows user for all my life, and have interacted with Mac systems a handful of times.  I didn’t have the funds to pick up a Mac, which probably would’ve been my ideal choice for a new laptop, but for a computer I plan on using in class, taking notes on while reading or at archives, emailing, surfing the web, blogging, and other low-power tasks, the netbook is all I required.  I’ll post a review of the netbook later this week after I use it a bit more.

Filed under: Academia, Conferences, , ,

Liveblogging: The Programming Historian

William J. Turkel, professor of history at the University of Western Ontario, is on the UNL campus today giving a talk titled, “Interactive, Ambient and Tangible Devices for Knowledge Mobilization.”

11:03 Following a brief introduction, Turkel described his talk as the exciting work he is currently undertaking, rather than presenting a published paper. Some of his current work stems from Geocoding photographs of the Chilcotin region , which was the focus of his dissertation. Turkel states that he sought to tell a story with no written archival record and tell an environmental history of an area over 300 million years.

11:05 As soon as he started searching for sources, he found thousands and thousands of sources including an interesting story of the people performing research extraction in the region. Turkel came to find every place as an Archive. Things come from a past that is progressively deeper. In his work, Turkel wants to consult the archival record while performing field work to better reconstruct the past with the present. Mostly historians have to take the field back to the archives, or vice versa, but it would be excellent to have the archival record with you in the field. Historians are able to do this via digital means. Turkel discusses instances where students digitized maps and documents and geocoded them so that they are usable with ArcGIS, so that this information could be used in the field. This is partially how Turkel involves people in digital history. Additionally, he notes that he put together a pilot project with area youth to get them involved with digital work in the field.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Academia, Conferences, Technology, , , , , , ,

Liveblogging the Rawley: The Historical Community Online

Today, the UNL History Graduate Students’ Association is hosting the Third Annual James Rawley Conference in the Humanities. The panel coming up is entitled “The Historical Community Online: Using Digital Tools to Interpret the Past,” which features my colleague, Brent. More below the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Conferences, ,