Archive for March, 2011

new answers to old questions

I have initiated a project called ‘War in Parliament’, which entails a study of the impact of the Second World War in post-war political debates and decision-making in the Netherlands.References to the Second World War shaped political debate for many decades. However, we have no systematic knowledge of why, how often, when, by whom or from which political party, and in which context, these references were made. Nor do we know the meanings politicians ascribed to the war years, the lessons the war was supposed to teach, and how all of this influenced political decision-making. Answering these questions will help us better understand the complex legacies of the Second Wold War. With tools developed in the e-sciences we are able to research large corpora and language resources (in this case de Handelingen der Staten-Generaal (Dutch Hansard)) by creating an advanced search engine for this dataset with an intuitive and  powerful query language. However, as a historian and thus used to historical handwork, I am still curious and eager to learn more about the still uncertain path digital humanities provides.

Hinke Piersma

Online Presentation of the Built Environment

I’m working on developing an online presentation/website/etc. on the history of the buildings and landscape of a military installation in Richmond, VA. I have a lot of flexibility with the project and am looking for the best way to present the information. I am looking for a straightforward, flexible platform that will allow me to use text, photos, and scanned documents/maps to document the history of the installation in an interesting and effective way. I’m particularly interested in Omeka and how that might work for this project.

Arrival and Registration

THATCamp NCPH will begin at 9:00 am on April 6 in the Grand Central Room at the Crowne Plaza.

The conference registration area does not open until 11:00, so your NCPH conference name badge will be waiting for you when you arrive at THATCamp.

Coffee and snacks will be provided; lunch is on your own.


online resource guide

I would like to learn about the different types of software available to develop digital history projects.  For my project, I am looking to create an online resource guide for the history of health and medicine in Texas.  The website would incorporate on-site materials, such as bibliographies, with external links to catalogs and digital gateways.  I also am interested to explore how digital humanities can offer greater transparency of the ways in which historical materials go through the processs of being created, retained, and used.

Digital project management

Our center just got funding for a three-year period to develop an online exhibit about the history of irrigation and water use on the Front Range of Colorado. We’re in the project planning phase and have several major decisions to make in the next month or so. These include interdisciplinary team development, a site design concept that is both simple and flexible, and an overall work plan for the three-year period. We’re looking for best practice recommendations, ideas for lean and effective team structures, ideal work plan scenarios, and the like. I would like to share our initial ideas about this project and hear from others with greater experience managing similar projects. I hope to get more specific information about the technical aspects of this project in other sessions of THATCamp NCPH as well.

TEI, Apps, Interactive Content

I am coordinating a new digital history project where we’ll be digitizing, transcribing, and annotating about 300 primary source documents to tell the story of a large local bank that failed in the early years of the Great Depression. We’re coding our documents in XML following TEI guidelines, and are planning to create contextual essays and teacher resources as well.

I’d be very interested to hear about how other history projects are using TEI, incorporating interactive features along with “expert” voices, or using crowdsourcing transcription. I’d also like to learn more about creating digital resources with teachers in mind and how people are tailoring web content for smartphones/tablets, etc.

Building an iPad app

I am teaching an undergraduate history course this summer that will run parallel to a computer design course.  My students and I will create the content for three iPad apps.  We will hand over primary documents, ideas for interactive activities and appropriate assessments to the IT students who will design the free educational app.  I am hoping that the apps will contain units about artists who use history as their topic and who create art using historical methods. I think there will be a lot of balls in the air with this one, but I am hoping it works.

Virtual Public History Course

I am working on a independent study Public History  project with two students who  will discuss the pros and cons of working on such a project using their SMARTPHONE or IPAD . Their final project can consist of podcasts, interviews, photographs, and or a “short” film on their Public History story.  The student’s  will showcase their  findings and their “Public History” story on a website.

Interpreting Historical & Archaeological Sites

A THATCamp topic for consideration and also a plug for a project I’m working on…

I have a current project to collect outstanding examples of projects related to historic buildings or districts and archaeological sites that presented an innovative or creative solution to mitigating adverse effects, interpreting the history, or public outreach. We have set-up a website at that provides background info on the project and allows the public to submit info on projects they have worked on, or just encountered as visitors. One of the categories we are looking at is the use of new and emerging technologies (social media,  web sites/virtual tours, GPS/smartphone apps, or anything else) to more effectively interpret historic and archaeological resources and connect with and outreach to the public in interesting ways.

So if you know of or have worked on an innovative and effective project associated with a physical historic or archaeological resource, tell us about it at Thanks!

High School History/Current Events Summer Camp

The Hayward (CA) Area Historical Society is holding a History Camp this summer for 10-12 area high school students.  The focus will be on the creation of a short film, discussing current events and issues, chosen by students,  that reflect their concern.  The idea will be to create a “living history” that will be added to the Society’s archives and made available to future generations.  One component will be to research how these same (or similar) issues impacted area teens in years past, so there will be a historical research component as well.  Students will receive help from the History Department, Library, and Media resources at Cal State University East Bay, to supplement the Society’s professional staff.  I am particularly interested in how film-making can be used to teach history and to allow for maximum creativity by these students.  Any ideas?

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