HW: Wikipedia talk pages (due 2/4)

In class on Tuesday, we’re going to start building a timeline of Albany history using Wikipedia as a starting reference.  For the homework due on Thursday February 4, choose two of the Wikipedia pages from our timeline (links available either through the spreadsheet we edited or under the images in the timeline itself).

Investigate the Wikipedia articles’ Talk pages–these are accessible through the Talk tab at the top of each article.  Remember that we are not talking about the Article portion of the Wikipedia page!

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Comment below and discuss:

  1. What are the major points of discussion on the Talk page?  For example, in the War of 1812 Talk page, there is a conflict over whether to characterize America, Canada or Britain as the aggressor in the war.  How do users on the Talk page attempt to resolve these disputes?
  2. Do your example Talk pages illustrate any of the concerns in today’s reading (The Historian’s Craft, Popular Memory, and Wikipedia by Robert Wolff)?
  3. Remember that your comments are graded on correct grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  4. One point of extra credit (one point max) if you’re the first person to post about a page no one else has mentioned yet.
  5. Reply to one other student’s post about the similarities between what was discussed on your Talk pages and what the other student describes in theirs.  You’ll lose one point off of ten if you don’t make a comment replying to another student!

HW: Where does history live on the web? (due 2/2)

Note that there is a new category of posts available on the sidebar to the right; all our homework posts will be available under the category homework.

For the homework due on Tuesday February 2, find two history-related accounts on two social media networks (for example, two accounts on Twitter and two accounts on Tumblr).  Think broadly about what history-related might mean; some examples include the MedievalPOC tumblr, CivilWarLive livetweeting of the Civil War, the Every3Minutes slave sales twitter assigned for today, or the Brooklyn Museum’s collection tweeting bot.

Remember that we are not looking for traditional websites like the NY Public Library’s digital collections–the central feature of social media is that it is interactive and many users may have an account within the same network.  We are also not looking for single history-related posts; the entire account must be history-related.

(You may use one of these examples, but only one–you must find an additional three accounts on your own!  You may not use the twitter accounts referenced in our reading It’s History, Not a Viral Feed, for reasons discussed in the reading.  One point of extra credit if you’re the first to post an account, maximum one point.)

In your comment below, link the accounts you found, and briefly describe:

  1. What’s the purpose and audience of each account?  How do other users interact with the account, if at all?
  2. How does each account use the interactive features of its network?  How do your two examples from the same network differ from their use of the network’s interactivity features?
  3. Make a connection between your accounts and at least one of the readings assigned for today (It’s History, Not a Viral Feed by Sarah Werner; Digitisation’s Most Wanted by Melissa Terras; and Slave Sales on Twitter by Caleb McDaniel).  Remember that it is polite to refer to authors by their last names, not their first names!
  4. You will be graded on your use of correct capitalization, spelling and grammar.  Writing professionally on the internet is how we present ourselves professionally, like wearing professional clothes for a job interview.

You must also reply to at least one other student’s comment and discuss how your examples differ from the other student’s examples.  Your reply is part of your grade for the assignment and not leaving a reply will deduct one point out of ten from your final score for the assignment.

Opening Our Eyes to a New Online Accessible World

Three readings and one video were to be read today, I’m here to discuss them all so that as a class we can better understand what’s going on. Starting with the video, “Is Google Knowledge”, that can be located at Youtube, Hank Green goes on a tirade about whether or not Google is considered “knowledge”. The argument is if we as individuals use Google as a search engine to get information does the process of us having to do this count still as still having gained knowledge. Basically are we cheating ourselves by googling anything we wonder about. Does it make us stupid and/or lazy by having this information at our fingertips?

In comparison Professor Melissa Terras’ piece, Reuse of Digitised Content, discusses the multiple changes she’d like to see in regard with creative reuse of digitised cultural heritage content. A bit of backstory on the content she’s referring to, it is in reference to works such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc that galleries, libraries, archives and museums are making public online for individuals such as you and I to access. Terra herself applauds this action on the basis that this access has allowed individuals to create pretty neat things with the works they are seeing such as fabrics, corsets and notebook covers to name a few things. The issue she sees with this unlimited access though is that there are poor search engines, too few works with copyrights, not enough information on how to get copyrights and poor image quality.

The next reading after, by, Dr. Ernesto Priego called, “Some Tips for WordPress.com Beginners”, discusses a multitude of definitions that one should know if interested in blogging (or interested in being relevant with youth today). In addition, Priego uses the published blog of Ryan Cordell to give helpful tips on how one could have a successful blog/ blog post if interested. Examples of this come from all the information that was gathered by him in regards to having a catchy byline/authorship, permalink, Bio/About Me page and categories.

The last reading titled,“Putting big Data to Good Use”, by authors S. Graham, I. Milligan and S. Weingart, examines the positive outcomes that occur when published works get transferred and become accessible online. The example the authors use is the Old Bailey, which covers over 197,000 trials in Britain. The scholars that were tasked with this not only brought Old Bailey online but assisted in creating formats that would help anyone who was looking over it to be able to research specific cases easier by having for example, key words and suggested trails. Authors Graham, milligram and Weingart also discuss the lack of historians being apart of this digitizing process. Though few have slowly made strides to become more involved there is still a scarcity of methods being taught in regards to how to accomplish such as feat as digitizing old works in the historian field itself.

From the three readings that were mentioned connections can be made between them. The first connection that I saw was that all three were written in a type of blog format. There were even instances in which an author would ramble on and catch themselves in the act. They’d let a reader know that whatever was said may have been a rant with no coherent meaning. In regards to content itself all the readings discuss the manner in which accessibility to the online world whether it be through the reuse of digitized content, an online blog or the transferring of online data, has been helpful. Helpful in manners that they themselves did not see possible up until the point they began to appreciate it through the research of a topic of interest to themselves. Being able to have access to the internet is key to one expanding their knowledge and these readings are proof of the wonders that the internet holds. What could have possibly not been imagined decades ago it seems as though online accessibility has reached the farthest corners and will continue to do so.



Is there anything you know of that you have not been able to find accessible online and would like to see accessible?

Do you feel as though as students we have not taken as much advantage as we should be being able to have access online through most all of our smart devices? And why?

Having gained knowledge about certain topics we may or may not have known about before, how do you see yourself spreading awareness about them? Or do you think these authors wrote what they wrote with no real intent on widening the consciousness about the reuse of digitized content, online blogging or the transferring of online data?

Putting Humanities Data to Work

Today’s readings (minus the video):

How to manage all this data?

Images for reuse?

Where’s the print screen/screenshot button?


Post Guidelines

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To post on your assigned day, you must be logged in to the course site; posting options are available on the far left of the dashboard space under “Add New.”  The posting schedule is available as a PDF on Blackboard.  You may also start a post and save it as a draft to finish later without publishing; you are the only one who can edit your posts.  You don’t need to include your name or “by XYZ” in the text of your post, as your username will appear under the title once it’s published.

Posts should be about 500-800 words long (longer is ok too) and must be posted by noon the day before the assigned class meeting. Posts must be in complete sentences and you will be graded on correct punctuation and grammar.  There is a word count tally at the bottom of the post box if you’re unsure about length.  Your post should synthesize for the class the major points of the assigned readings and assume that the audience (your classmates) have already read the assigned readings.  On days that we have how to readings assigned, summarize the purpose of the tools.  Be sure to think about your post as a very small essay; it should have an introduction, conclusion and paragraph breaks to indicate topic shifts as well as transition language between points so that your change of topic is clear to the reader.

The assigned readings should be linked in the text as you discuss them with “pretty links.”  Merely dropping in a url address like this: http://ahis290.maevekane.net/ instead of making a pretty link like this will lose one point.  To make a pretty link, type the text you wish to link, highlight it with your cursor, and click the little link icon in the formatting options bar.

Posts must include three discussion questions about the assigned readings and have a title–try to choose a title that is descriptive and ties together the thematic points of your summary.  Posts should also be set to the “readings discussion” category so that the course site stays easy to navigate as we add more things to it throughout the semester.  You must also add at least three tags (think of this as the metadata for your post).  What are your readings about?  Are your questions about the technical aspects or the thematic aspects (ie, wordpress vs. economic history).

For your discussion questions, do NOT pose yes/no questions.  Think big with how and why questions–why did a historic event happen, how does displaying information in certain ways affect the viewer’s understanding of it, why would someone use a tool, how is the tool limited, etc.  You’re also welcome to post clarification questions–how does a tool work, how do I make it do X?  Think about the discussion questions as a way of guiding what you want to talk about and cover in class that day.

You may, but you are not required to, include images in your posts.  You can do this with the “Add Media” button on the upper left, which will let you upload an image from your computer and then position it in the text.

When finished, hit the blue Publish button on the top right.  If you’re not finished, you can hit the “Save Draft” button above publish, in which case your saved post will appear in the list of “All Posts” on the far left of the dashboard when you want to come back to it.

You may compose the text of your post in an offline writing program, but be aware that software like Word sometimes includes strange formatting when you copy and paste in the post field.  To avoid this, right click in the post field and select “Paste and Match Style.”

Posts will be graded on a 10 point scale based on your organization, grammar, links to readings, synthesis of the readings, and mechanics like pretty links, tags, categories and questions.


1815 Albany City Directory

Examples of metadata:



Book citations

Comment below introducing yourself to the course.

  • What are your interests and your career goals?
  • What history-related skills (research, writing, analysis, historiography, etc) do you feel you do well, and what history skills would you like to improve on?
  • What digital skills (searching, using databases, learning new software, organizing files, watching cat videos, etc) do you feel you do well, and what digital skills would you like to improve on?
  • Link to and describe two examples of metadata.  Remember that you can’t use the examples we discussed in class (ie, tumblr, book citations, or shoe shopping)!  One point of extra credit if you find an example that no one else in class has.
  • Remember to make accounts with Zotero and Dropbox, we will be using these in class on Tuesday!
  • The Academic Honesty Quiz is available at the top of the course Blackboard.