June 2 - July 22, 104 Robinson B, M & W 7:20-10p

Course Schedule

Week 1

June 2
Introduction and the Internet


History of the Internet by Melih Bilgil (video ~8min)

How the Internet Works in 5 Minutes by Aaron Titus (video  ~5min)



  1. Welcome: Course introduction.
  2. Setting up your technology.
  3. Understanding the landscape of digital history.
June 4
Doing History (Online)

— William Cronon, “Getting Ready to Do History” (pages 1-6 only) Carnegie Essays on the Doctorate (2004)

— Robert Townsend, “How is New Media Reshaping the Work of Historians?” Perspectives on History, (November 2010)

— Cornell University Libraries, Evaluating Web Pages, (Published 1998, Updated 2010)

Evaluating Web Sites (video ~6min)


  1. What is history?
  2. How historians view (and read) the world and what types of projects do they do?
  3. What is the state of history on the web?

Writing Prompt for Week 1; responses are due Fri. June 6.


Week 2

June 9
Finding & Evaluating Primary Sources


— Using Primary Sources: Primary Source Village, Modules 1 & 3 (Univ. of Illinois Library)

— Errol Morris, Photography as a Weapon (2008).

— Duke University Writing Studio, Visual Rhetoric/Visual Literacy: Writing About Photography


— National Archives, “Document Analysis Worksheets”

Historical Thinking Chart


  1. What are primary sources?
  2. How do historians read, analyze, interpret, and/or use them?
  3. How do historians “read” photographs?


June 11
Using Secondary Sources for Context

— Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History Be Open Source: Wikipedia and the Future of the Past”

Heavy Metal Umlaut by Jon Udell (video ~8.5 min)

— David Koeller, “Then Again: History Basics Assignments. Using Historical Sources.” (2005)

— Caleb McDaniel, “How to Read for History.” (2008)

— Caleb McDaniel, “How to Discuss a Book for History.” (2013)


  1. What is a secondary source?
  2. How should we use Wikipedia?
  3. How are secondary sources used to help make sense of primary sources?

Writing Prompt for Week 2; responses are due Fri. June 13.

Week 3

June 16
Copyright & Fair Use


Copyright Criminals (video ~56 min)

Judge Chin’s Ruling on Google Books Fair Use (New York Times)

— Mason’s Copyright Office “The Basics” [pdf]

— ALA, Digital Copyright Slider (2012)


  1. Who owns the past?
  2. Can I use this?
  3. Fair use and Creative Commons.



June 18
Preservation & Presentation

— Roy Rosenzweig, “Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past in a Digital Era

Digital Preservation Guide from the Library of Congress

— Explore the following “Born digital” archives:

— Explore the crowd sourced, Papers of War Department project.


  1. Digital preservation 101
  2. Digitization vs born digital archives.
  3. Scarcity and abundance in history.


Writing prompt for Week 3; responses are due Fri. June 20.

Week 4

June 23
Asking Questions, Building Projects


— William Cronon, “Getting Ready to Do Historical Research” *All of the introduction, plus 7 links under Research Processes.

— Eli Pariser, Beware online “filter bubbles” (video, ~9min)


  1. Asking questions of history.
  2. Answering questions about history.
  3. Developing a research plan.
June 25
Mining for Information

How Search Works (video ~3 min)

Topic Modeling Martha Ballard’s Diary – Cameron Blevins – Parts 1, 2 & 3

Andrew Torge and Jon Christensen, “Mapping Texts: Visualizing American Historical Newspapers.” Journal of Digital Humanities, Summer 2012.

— Explore: Martha Ballard’s Diary — DoHistory

Time Magazine Corpus – 1923-2006

Mining Google Books Corpus 1500s-2000s



  1. Mining the Internet.
  2. Mining collections.
  3. Mining texts for patterns.


**Midterm exam will be distributed after class on June 25th.

Week 5

June 30
Intro to Maps/HistoryPin


— Jim Clifford, Josh MacFadyen, Daniel Macfarlane, Intro to Google Maps and Google Earth.

Getting Started with HistoryPin [pdf] | Storify of tutorial videos.

— Richard White, “What is Spatial History?”


  1. Introduction to Maps
  2. Introduction to HistoryPin.
  3. Thinking spatially.


**Midterm exam is due at the beginning of class.

July 2
Spatial Analysis

— Stephen Robertson, “Putting Harlem on the Map”

— Stephen Robertson, “Traffic Accidents in 1920s Harlem”

Spatial Projects

Digital Harlem: Everyday Life, 1915-1930

Railroads and the Making of Modern America

Visualizing Emancipation


  1. How do digital maps change our historical perspectives?
  2. What new questions can maps raise?


Writing prompt for Week 5; due to the holiday, responses are due Sun. July 6th.

Week 6

July 7
Data & Databases



Chicago Homicide Project

Interactive Chicago Homicide Database



  1. Using free data.
  2. Building your own data.
  3. Finding patterns; seeing history.
July 9
Using Data

Chicago Homicide Project

Interactive Chicago Homicide Database



  1. Using, understanding, and manipulating data.

Writing prompt for Week 6; responses are due Fri. July 11th.

Week 7

July 14


— John Theibault, “Visualizations and Historical Arguments”


— National Center on Education Statistics, Reviewing charts and graphs and when to use what kind,

— Steve Krug, “How We Really Use the Web”


  1. Visualizing patterns.
  2. Using visualizations and patterns to help make historical arguments.
  3. How do we really use the web?


July 16
Your Professional Web Presence

— Miriam Posner, Stewart Varner & Brian Coxall, “Creating Your Web Presence,” Chronicle of Higher Education (February 14, 2011)

— Brian Croxall, “How to Overcome What Scares Us About Our Online Identities,” The Digital Campus, Chronicle of Higher Ed, April 21, 2014.

–“Build a Professional Web Presence

— GMU Info Tech Security Office, “Basic Computer Security.”


  1. What is your web identity?
  2. How secure are your online activities?
  3. Help?
July 21 Projects Due at 7:20pm