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Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

Resource: British History Online makes all research content free to individual users

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 13:00

About the resource:

From 30 March, all transcribed content on BHO is now freely available to individual users, and will remain so until 31 July 2020. This post describes what’s included in this move.

British History Online (BHO) is a digital collection of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, and the British world, with a special focus on the period 1300 to 1800. The BHO collection includes over 1,280 volumes of primary content and secondary sources.

Most of this content (over 1000 volumes or c.80% of the total) is always available free to use by anyone, anywhere with access to the BHO site. In addition, we offer several subscription packages—for individual users and institutions—that provide access to a further 200 volumes of primary research content.

Read more here.

Report: Digital Humanities Japan – Building Community and Sharing Resources

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 12:30

From the report:

In 2016, “The Impact of the Digital in Japanese Studies” workshop met at the University of Chicago for the first time. This gathering brought together Japan Studies researchers with different projects and needs who engaged (or were looking to engage) with digital methods. We discussed a wide variety of undertakings: creating pattern recognition software for teaching classical poetry, tackling analysis of political speeches, the barriers faced when making data requests of copyrighted Japanese materials, the ethics of data extraction, and more…

As an outgrowth of subsequent events and discussions, several participants from the original workshop are now collaborating on the Digital Humanities Japan initiative, an international and interdisciplinary community for anyone interested in working with digital methods, tools, and resources in connection with Japan Studies. Although DH Japan is just starting out as a platform to foster cooperation, dialogues, and events, we have begun creating a variety of resources to promote digitally-inflected work in the Japan community.

Read the full report here.

Editors’ Choice: Re-entangling Science and Technology

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 12:00

Technoscience is a term I’ve used occasionally on this site, particularly in reference to the kinds of knowledge represented in tech trees, though without delving too deeply into its implications. As noted in the preceding article, the model of science and technology as two complementary and inexorably linked pieces of the military-industrial complex does a poor job of representing actual scientific and technological developments prior to the twentieth century. Technoscience, then, according to Donna Haraway (1997), is a “mutation in historical narrative.” For Haraway, the concept of technoscience underscores the implosion of the supposedly stable categories that structure the modern world. Technoscience rejects modernity’s rigid distinctions between the scientific and the social, the technical and the political.

Other scholars have further developed the concept of technoscience. Karen Barad (2007) notes that human practices are not the only ones that matter in technoscientific networks. In order for new knowledge to be constructed, a vast infrastructure must be created both materially and rhetorically (Latour, 1987). Thus, scientific work isn’t just the actions of scientists in white lab coats. Knowledge production requires that the work of countless other non-scientists be brought into the network. It requires the work of engineers and technicians building equipment, as well as administrators and support staff securing resources. The network also must be able to enroll material elements. This includes not only basic resources and scientific instruments, but also natural phenomena as objects of study. Their inclusion isn’t trivial or guaranteed. Scientists often discover, as Barad would say, “the world kicks back” (Barad, 2007).

Just as videogames often struggle to conceptualize science and technology in nuanced ways, they also struggle to represent the intersections of science and technology which, besides just being complex, have changed drastically over the past 150 years. This is not a shortcoming of the medium. Indeed, with their ability to model complex systems for players to interact with, videogames are perhaps uniquely suited to portraying complex ideas like technoscience in a way that players can understand. Some games, of course, come closer to this aspirational goal than others. Once again, the Civilization series provides some excellent examples of both ends of the spectrum.


Read the full post here.

Editors’ Choice: A Time for Research Distancing

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 11:00

Imagine being suddenly told that you cannot research online when writing history. No electronic journals, no ebooks, no Internet Archive, no Wikipedia, no search engines. You will instead be forced to rely exclusively on available print copies of books and journals, on microfilm, and, most important of all, on archives scattered across the country and around the world. Welcome to 1970.

This summer offers historians the very opposite predicament. We lack our accustomed access to most material sources, and physical archives are utterly unavailable. Beyond what we already had on hand, what we hurriedly pulled from the library before the lockdown, or what we’re able to buy on Amazon, all that we have to make sense of the past are the digital sources on the screens in front of us. Welcome to 2020.

And that’s fine, that’s enough. The historical material produced from 2020 research will not require an asterisk any more than the material of 1970 did. Historical research is never strictly about accessing everything we need, but about accessing what we can, and stopping when time, resources, and the availability of sources tells us to.

Faculty members may feel the shock if they are in the habit of summer trips to far-flung archives. Archival work is an important rite of passage in our discipline, and doctoral students may also need to adjust their research schedules, pushing off archival visits to 2021. But more than anyone it will be Master’s students who will have to adjust their research plans the most and the fastest. Fortunately, they might also benefit from having the fewest expectations of what historical research is and must be.

Research done this summer will be different, to be sure, in three key ways. First, sources will likely be different than what was expected. Those archives exist for a reason, and they contain historical information that in many cases don’t exist anywhere else. But the same is true of online sources: they also offer information that is otherwise inaccessible, and, of course, the vast majority of newer information is born digital and only exists as such.


Read the full post here.

Resource: #Training Tuesday – Manage, Improve and Open Up Your Research Data

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 12:30

About the resource:

This week’s #TrainingTuesday highlights a module produced in the context of the H2020 PARTHENOS project on “Manage, Improve and Open Up Your Research Data”, authored by Jennifer Edmond, Associate Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of Strategic Projects in Trinity College Dublin and President of the Board of Directors for DARIAH-EU.

This module looks at emerging trends and best practice in data management, quality assessment and IPR issues. It looks at policies regarding data management and their implementation, particularly in the framework of a Research Infrastructure.

Read the full resource here.

Editors’ Choice: The Idea of a Digital-First University

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 12:00

Shifting forces in the UK Higher Education sector call for a new distinctive role for a university to enhance its prestige and intellectual endeavours – a new idea of a university. But at the present moment there is also a need to manage what appears to be a new landscape opened up by huge exogenous forces, such as the coronavirus, together with the disruption caused by digital technology. I argue that a new idea of a university should help the university to sustain and augment the existing institutional character of the university but also provide new orientations and give an impetus to a set of new long-range commitments for the university. This short post argues for the need to create a special role for a university in relation to its environment, cultural milieu and to provide a distinctive university in relation to others in the sector. Rather than retrench under the difficult conditions required in what might appear to be both an economic contraction and an education crisis the university should seize this opportunity to reassert its commitment to research and teaching and accelerate this capacity. This notion of an idea of a university drawn from a “digital-first” orientation would naturally have institutional implications in terms of the shape or pattern of the university. This proposal therefore advocates the development of the idea of a digital-intensive mission for any university that wishes to become a digital-first university.


The last major change for the universities could be said to be the shift to the modern research university in the 1800s. This grew out of the notion that research, as an experimental procedure conducted in a spirit of discovery, could form the basis of a mission for the university. This emerged in German universities in the nineteenth century and became known as the Humboldtian university. The German universities developed the notion that integrating teaching and research within the same institution could be intensified to improve both teaching and the research process. Professors increasingly began to teach methodological skills, greater analytical and theoretical knowledge and tools as part of their courses. This included a growing reliance on field-work, maps and graphs, catalogues, and lists of specialised data to explain to students’ recent scientific advances and ongoing research work. However, it was the American universities that would take these ideas and develop them by creating an ideal of combining and integrating teaching and research which resulted in the modern research university.

Read the full post here.

Editors’ Choice: a thousand little fires

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 11:00

Don’t despair, create! (Or despair, and create!)

Many of us are turning to creative outlets to keep the stresses of a global pandemic at bay. a thousand little fires is a space to share and see what we create while reconciling with self-isolation. One new creation each day.

If you’ve been knitting, making music, baking bread, writing poetry, building an elaborate aquarium, or otherwise creating anything that has brought you joy, send it over. Anonymous contributions welcome. Amateur contributions welcome. Unfinished contributions welcome. You are welcome.

Types of Contributions
  • Images. Artistic photographs, pictures of something you’ve created, artwork, etc. [png, jpg, or gif]
  • Text. Short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, recipes, etc. [plaintext, markdown, or shared google doc]
  • Videos. Performances, animations, etc. [link to video on YouTube or other embeddable video service]
  • Audio. Music, spoken word, etc. [link to audio on SoundCloud or other embeddable audio service]
  • Interactives. Javascript visualizations, etc. [GitHub pull request]
  • Anything else we can put on a webpage. Be creative.

Read more here.

Announcement: Announcing a National Emergency Library to Provide Digitized Books

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:30

From the announcement:

To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.

Read the full announcement here.

Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:00

From the resource:

In the blink of an eye, once-crowded museums sit empty. We’re preparing ourselves for social distancing and potential quarantine. This is the time for museum technology to step up and fill the void. The potential of online collections, virtual tours, and social media campaigns have always been there, but now the opportunity for impact is incalculable.

Access to endless open content. Educational resources for e-learning. Virtual retreats to art, culture, and history around the globe. This is the museum technology community’s time to shine!

Read the full resource here.

Conference: “DH in the time of Virus” Twitter Conference

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 11:30

About the conference:

As we are all going through some unprecedented and peculiar times, with COVID-19 spreading globally and disrupting the ways in which we work, collaborate, interact, conduct research and are being productive,  Research and Innovation Center “Athena”, as co-ordinator of APOLLONIS, the Greek Infrastructure for Digital Arts, Humanities and Language Research and Innovation, is organizing a Twitter Conference under the title “DH in the Time of Virus”.

This event is envisaged as part of a series of digital initiatives across the world to battle academic isolation and to facilitate and support community building and osmosis in DH research and education.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: COVID-19 Roundup 2

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 11:00

This week, we’ve gathered another selection of posts on digital humanities during a pandemic, covering topics from museums to transcription to prison education. You can find last week’s roundup here.

Working Together to Transcribe Ancient Documents During COVID-19

Sarah Emily Bond

As the pandemic known as COVID-19 grips the globe, thousands of instructors in the United States and elsewhere have been asked to transition their courses online for the remainder of the semester. To some instructors, such as the superb Classics professors at the Open University, distance learning has become a normalized pedagogy. To many others facing teaching online: this is uncharted territory. Although the SCS has compiled helpful lists of open access (i.e. freely available) resources for classicists migrating their courses into the digital realm, we might also consider the value in allowing our students to contribute to a number of online digital humanities projects that outsource the work of manuscript or documentary transcription to members of the public. In the process, students can acquire paleographical and linguistic skills; work directly with archival documents; and ultimately engage in a collaborative online space centered on enriching the public data available across the world.

We’ve Gotten This Far

Seema Rao

We were all faced with some of the realest decisions of our careers, and we decided it’s better to do this one together. The shared google doc of closures blew up around Thursday afternoon, and in looking at it, I thought, maybe for the first time in my career, we are saving lives. The choice to close wasn’t easy. I read directors note after director’s note on websites about tough choices and challenging decisions. Our sector might employ large numbers but our budgets aren’t like the Microsoft and Google’s of the world. But, even in the face of challenge, museums made this choice.

Cultural Organizations & COVID-19: Documenting Virtual Engagement Strategies

Liam Sweeney

Efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 have fundamentally, and in many cases permanently, transformed the landscape of cultural consumption. As of Monday, March 16th, over 400 major US museums have closed their doors and ceased their traditional programming. While this is an essential part of collectively weathering a public health crisis that is likely to overwhelm the US healthcare system in a matter of days, these closures invariably introduce a deep degree of precarity for hundreds of beloved cultural organizations, and many are at risk of suffering grave financial harm as a result. Moreover, their mission is at risk of pausing, since they will for some time be unable to serve as spaces of respite, of learning, and of interpersonal exchange. But while buildings may be closed, museums and other cultural organizations should consider the real opportunities to serve their communities. Indeed, some have already begun to do so.

When Online Isn’t an Option: Higher Education in Prisons During a Pandemic

Kurtis Tanaka

As the announcements of campus closures continue unabated, colleges and universities across the country are struggling to figure out how to adjust their teaching and learning practices, with many moving their courses online. But what does this mean for students who are incarcerated? Building on Ithaka S+R’s ongoing research on how technology can be leveraged towards increasing access to higher education in prisons and more equitable learning experiences, today we are taking a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting prison education programs and the potential impact on incarcerated learners.

In The Moment

Lee Skallerup Bessette

I started teaching in an online program for people in prison. I’m teaching a writing course to incarcerated men and women scattered across the country. If you thought the LMS was bad, wait until you experience the prison LMS, let me tell you. The students have to download all materials on to a proprietary tablet during certain times, find time and space to write their essays and assignments, and then re-upload them at the appropriate time from a kiosk.  The tablets are notoriously unreliable. Some students didn’t have access to a word processing program. Others were on lockdown. One prison was without water.

Working conditions

Quinn Dombrowski

The previous week, even though the kids were in school, I couldn’t focus. The tension and uncertainty of when the schools (and daycares) would close was leaving me a total wreck. I muddled through, teaching the last two sessions of “Project Management and Ethical Collaboration for Humanists” via Zoom, with a carefully-placed phone camera showing the dice for our DH RPG. But it was hard to get much else done. How can you decide what to prioritize when you don’t know how much time you’ll have — next week, or into the indefinite future? Should I be tackling large projects with fervor, since I might not have an extended period of focused time free for a long while? Or should I just set those aside, and deal with all the immediate crises and emails? The result was a lot of angst, and not much accomplished on any front.

Pedagogy in the Time of Pandemic: Week 1

Ann Gagné

So the first week of pedagogy in the time of pandemic has come and gone and I am sure we all have feelings and thoughts. My first observation is just how willing faculty have been to think about different ways to help support their students at this time. If you have a teacher in your life, whether they teach K-12 or Higher Ed please thank them right now. They have done so much in such a short amount of time, sometimes with poor access to technology and it truly is to be commended. I have a few things I want to focus on in what will probably be many weeks of pedagogy in the time of pandemic.

Some Reflections on COVID-19 and the Digitization of Research and Teaching

James Harry Morris

Whilst I needn’t go into minute detail, the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has necessitated the use and indeed highlighted the importance of the digital for both educational and research purposes. Libraries, archives, and museums are temporarily closing and therefore those of us with inadequate collections of physical texts must, in the coming months, increasingly turn to e-books and other digitized materials. A large number of universities will take their teaching completely online during the next semester, and some seminars and other events will also enter the digital realm – for instance, the Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics at the University of St Andrews of which I am an Associate Researcher has announced that its seminars will continue online. Conferences and other events are also moving online.

Emergency Remote Teaching: A Post Secondary Reality Check

Ian Milligan

The warning bells are chiming. Some faculty are wary. The Canadian Association of Universities Teachers, for example, warns against workload pressures that would now require “additional support for staff, such as assigning teaching assistants,” and cautions that academic bodies “involved in monitoring the pedagogical effectiveness of temporary online instruction and to decide on adjustments or discontinuance.” Dipping one’s toes into Twitter and you’ll see rhetoric as varied as how this devalues the hard work of online education, that it is an impossible task being given to instructors, and – in conspiratorial tones – how this might just be the first herald of a “neoliberal” move towards online education. Naturally, nobody would argue that any of this was ideal. Framing this as a move to “online education,” however, is deeply misleading.

In Praise of the Diagonal Reference Line

Robert Kosara

Annotations are what set visual communication and journalism apart from just visualization. They often consist of text, but some of the most useful annotations are graphical elements, and many of them are very simple. One type I have a particular fondness for is the diagonal reference line, which has been used to provide powerful context in past news pieces, and is making a comeback in the COVID-19 charts.

Job: Research Fellows – Cultural Data Analytics (extended deadline), Tallinn University

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:00

From the ad:

Funded through the European Commission, the designated CUDAN ERA Chair holder, Professor Maximilian Schich, together with the CUDAN project team, the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School, the School of Humanities, and the School of Digital Technologies at Tallinn University, is looking for research fellows in the area of Cultural Data Analytics to deepen our understanding of the nature of cultural interaction, cultural dynamics, and cultural evolution, doing research while nurturing multidisciplinary cross-fertilization. Through this recruiting, the CUDAN project will bring together a group of at least 5 research fellows and 5 PhD students to harness the rare high-risk/high-gain opportunity of combining multidisciplinary science, computation, information design, with art and cultural history, cultural media studies, and cultural semiotics, in close collaboration and co-authorship… The candidates are expected to submit the required applications documents (preferably in PDF-format) by the March 31st 2020 to Personnel Office of Tallinn University…

Read the full ad here.

Announcement: Archival Research in a Time of Social Distancing

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 12:30

From the announcement:

All over the world, archives and libraries are shutting their doors as covid-19 spreads. These closures mean that researchers can’t use the not-yet-digitized collections that exist in those places. Or does it?

As we’ve been teaching people about Tropy, one thing we’ve learned is that researchers nearly always want to be generous with their photographs. We get asked all the time if researchers can share their photos back to the archives from whence they came. But what if, instead of sharing them back to the archive, you could provide research materials to another research whose research trip has been cancelled or postponed?

In the newest release of Tropy (1.7), we’ve made it possible to export items—photos, metadata, and all—in a zip archive, which can then be shared with anyone. We’ve set up a special category on the forums where you can post about documents you were hoping to get, or documents that you have that you think someone might need.

Read the full announcement here.

Editors’ Choice: Dickens makes the impossible possible – Charles Dickens, Reporter?

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 12:00

In this guest post, Miriam Helmers (University College London) draws on how different digital tools and sources to examine the relationship between Dickens’s journalism and his fiction. She reports very interesting insights into the writer’s use of “a fantastic kind of descriptive language”.

Charles Dickens was a reporter before he was a writer of fiction. This would be a truism – if it were true. Strictly speaking, yes, he worked as a parliamentary reporter from 1831-1834 and as a reporter for the Morning and Evening Chronicles from 1834-1836 before launching his career as a novelist. And yes, the detailed descriptions in his fictional work showcase his journalistic training. However, Dickens goes beyond the details in his fiction, and even in his early reporting, he already points to realms of unrealism. As one might expect from the genre, his early journalism does not contain many instances of figurative language; but when Dickens the detailed reporter uncharacteristically states that he cannot describe something, it may be that Dickens the imaginative writer feels that only a fantastic kind of descriptive language would be adequate – and yet would be inappropriate for him to indulge. He finds the outlet for that kind of detail in his fiction.

While I wished that I could have used the CLiC concordance tool (Mahlberg et al. 2016) to sift through barely-legible scanned versions of the newspapers from this period (see Figure 1), I was later able to use CLiC to find several examples from Dickens’s fiction that have confirmed some parts of my hypothesis.

My starting point meanwhile was the British Newspaper Archive (BNA). The BNA is a fantastic resource, containing millions of pages of newspapers dating from 1700. With a subscription, you can view as many articles as you need – although in the British Library Reading Rooms, you have unlimited access to the BNA for free! Certainly one of the perks of living in London. To look for specific articles, you simply enter keywords, or the date, or the newspaper in the advanced search and then continue limiting the search with added filters. This requires a bit of patience.

Read the full post here.

Editors’ Choice: A Journal of the Plague Year – an Archive of CoVid19

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 11:00

Join us in creating this repository of our uncertain moment. We are acting not just as historians, but as chroniclers, recorders, memoirists, image collectors. Contribute your experience and impressions of how CoVid19 has affected our lives, from the mundane to the extraordinary, including the ways things haven’t changed at all. Contribute text, images, video, tweets, texts, Facebook posts, Instagram or Snapchat memes, and screenshots of the news and emails–anything that speaks to paradoxes of the moment. Imagine, as we are, what future historian might need to write about and understand this historical moment.

The site title was inspired by Daniel Defoe’s novel of that name. First published in March 1722 the novel, A Journal of the Plague Year, tells story of one man’s experiences of the year 1665, in which the bubonic plague shook London.

A Journal of the Plague Year was initiated by Catherine O’Donnell, Richard Amesbury, and Mark Tebeau in the School for Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. It is curated by Mark Tebeau, Tom Beazley, and Erin Craft at ASU. Professor Larry Cebula (Eastern Washington) and Professor Amy Tyson (Depaul) will be collecting and curating with their class. We welcome your involvement as a curator, contributor, or social media promoter.


View the full project here.

Job: Educational Technology Specialist, New York University

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 13:00

From the ad:

Arts and Science is currently seeking a talented Education Technology Specialist to join their team. This individual will consult with faculty to design, develop, and implement technology-enhanced teaching and learning initiatives, including those delivered face-to-face and online. Evaluate current technology used by faculty and provide pedagogical and technical support in curricular design and development. Create and deliver training programs including conducting training sessions and workshops. Advise and educate faculty, staff, and students in the availability of technological resources within the NYU community, nationally and internationally. Research and test emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and research. Ensure technical competence through on-going professional development.

Read the full ad here.

Job: Digital Scholarship Services Coordinator, Columbia

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 12:30

From the ad:

The Digital Scholarship Services Coordinator facilitates the day-to-day operations and programming for Digital Scholarship locations across several Columbia Libraries; oversees the implementation of the outreach initiatives of the division, including maintaining event schedules and communicating programming to members of the Columbia community and beyond; provides entry-level assistance with digital software and emerging technologies located in 305 Butler Library, such as troubleshooting, fulfilling 3D printing requests, and creating documentation when needed. Technologies include scanning stations, microcomputing, podcasting, and VR technologies, The Coordinator also manages and promotes the library’s 3D printing service.

Read the full ad here.

CFP: Webinar – Constructing Digital Humanities Grant Proposals as a Librarian

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 12:00

From the CFP

The ACRL Digital Scholarship Section (DSS) Digital Humanities Discussion Group (DHDG) invites submissions for an upcoming webinar examining digital humanities librarianship and grants. Accepted presenters will give 5-10 minute presentations during the webinar, which will be held the week of June 15th, 2020…

With many digital humanities (DH) programs at higher education institutions getting funding from grants, DH librarians have been participating in the grant proposal process. The ACRL DSS Digital Humanities Discussion Group (DHDG) is seeking presentations from library professionals who have been awarded grants for digital humanities programs, initiatives, and projects. Share your insights in how to successfully write a grant, organize your team, and which grants are the most useful for DH related library projects.

Read the full CFP here.

Resource: H-Net Canceled Conference Presentation Repository

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 11:30

From the resource:

The purpose of this network is to share research papers or presentations intended to be shared at conferences or symposiums that were canceled due to the Covid-19 threat. For some, this might have been their first opportunity to share their work. Others might have interest in sharing the results of their hard work with a network of their peers.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: COVID-19 Roundup

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 11:00

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a range of reflections and resources related to digital humanities, especially on digital pedagogy, labor, data visualization, and online collections. We have collected some of them here, and we hope it serves as a useful resource for our readers.

Reflections The Stakes of Multilingual DH in the United States

Quinn Dombrowski

The urgency of so many decisions with large consequences — from conference cancellations that might push organizations into insolvency, to who will continue to be paid if classes and campus life come to an abrupt end — makes this a strange moment to pause and reflect on a cause such as Multilingual DH. Addressing linguistic representation in an always-porous and nebulously-defined interdisciplinary community hardly seems worth thinking about. But we now live in a world where universities feel forced to take drastic measures, and it seems naive to think that the current circumstances are best modeled as an aberration, from which we’ll soon get back to normal. We may be done with “normal” as we thought of it a month ago.

The New Normal

Lee Skallerup Bessette

I want to start with a quote from a good friend of mine who posted this in response to these extraordinary times: “Nothing will be perfect. Everything will be ok.” He wrote this in response to his institution moving to a distance learning format for the rest of the semester, like so many other institutions have, like my own institution has.

Notes from the Homeland: Day 1

John Laudun

While we may never know when COVID–19 first appeared, we can definitely date the moment here in the homeland when people realized that maybe they should take it seriously. It was the day the state closed K–12 schools for the month. It was also the day that the local university decided to cancel classes for two days and then re-open as an online-only institution. That was the day the toilet paper really began to fly (off the shelves).

The COVID 19 Chroniclers

Krista McCracken, Andrea Eidinger, Britt Luby, Carolyn Podruchny, and Sarah York-Bertram

We commit to chronicling our experiences working in academe throughout the coronavirus outbreak. We feel that our personal lives could reveal how privilege in the academy shapes our experiences. We chose the term “chroniclers” with intention, referring as it does to individuals who record events of historical significance. We feel that this word reflects not only the seriousness of the crisis we all face as well as our perspectives as historians observing the world changing before our eyes.


Digital Pedagogy Of Continuity, Inclusion, and Productivity: Pedagogy in the Time of Contagion

Ann Gagné

And I guess that takes me to point one of this post which is for the past few days I have been supporting faculty and friends in higher ed to think about the remainder of the semester in terms of delivery, content, activities, and assessments. There are a lot of great suggestions being shared on Twitter, via email, via LMS and all of it is very inspiring and suggests that folk are ready to be creative in their approach to something that is unprecedented. However, there are two aspects to all of this that I am seeing being forgotten in all the transition: 1. thinking of the pedagogy before the technology and 2. thinking of access and inclusion of pedagogical choices.

Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

Aimi Hamraie

All of the below suggestions come from disability culture and community. Disabled people have been using online spaces to teach, organize, and disseminate knowledge since the internet was invented. Disabled people are leading survival praxis in apocalyptic times. Please recognize that the very types of remote access that universities now mandate for classrooms and conferences have been denied to disabled people. Please also recognize that disabled people have long engaged in refining methods for remote access to protests, classrooms, doctor’s offices, public meetings, and other events. Mention this in your classes so that students know they are benefitting from crip technology and praxis. Commit to accessible teaching because it is crip technoscience and disabled ingenuity that has made remote participation possible.

Getting Online: Lessons from Liberal Arts Colleges

Jenna Joo, Daniel Rossman

Many of the colleges and universities that are transitioning away from face-to-face courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are residential institutions that have not historically provided widespread online instruction. Through multi-year evaluations of the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction and the Teagle Foundation’s Hybrid Learning and the Residential Liberal Arts Experience program, Ithaka S+R has worked with similar institutions as they have taken their first steps towards online and hybrid learning. For both projects, participating institutions worked together to develop online resources and courses that could be shared across institutions. While institutions that are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to move online are likely focusing in the short-term on providing resources and courses for their own students, we believe the lessons learned from the CIC and Teagle projects are still relevant. Below we sketch out some of those lessons.

Dispatches from the Higher Ed #covidclassroom

Danielle Cooper

In today’s first dispatch from the #covidclassroom are instructors’ and students’ experiences on-the-ground, including navigating the tactics for making the transition online, balancing teaching, learning, and research, and the academic supports they are relying on along the way. These accounts are based on remote interviews that I conducted on March 14 and 15. We will continue to tell stories to help the higher education community understand emerging practices, needs, and gaps in this unprecedented situation.

Duke Kunshan University: A Case Study of Implementing Online Learning in Two Weeks

Catharine Bond Hill, Kevin M. Guthrie, Martin Kurzweil, Cindy Le

In February 2020, Duke Kunshan University (DKU) made the decision to finish the third semester of its relatively new bachelor’s degree program online, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In this case study, we document the decision-making and implementation of this move to online in a rapidly evolving situation in an effort to assist other colleges and universities as they decide how to proceed.

Going Online: A History Department Guide

Cate Denial

Don’t get hooked on being a tech wizard.  We’ve all refined our face-to-face teaching over many years; online teaching is its own craft, and we’re all beginners.  You might hear of all kinds of wonderful, exciting, zany approaches happening across campus. It’s not a competition. And low tech helps us to teach equitably.  Not all students will have the capability to video conference, for example.  Some may not be able to get online frequently at all. And remember, each of us may get sick.  Our courses should be designed so that they can be covered by someone else while we recover.

Being a Successful Student Online

Lee Skallerup Bessette

Setting yourself up to do well online is rooted in the same skills that have helped you do well in person—attentiveness, preparation, hard work, responsiveness, engagement—but the two modes of learning do have differences. As we have moved to an online environment for safety reasons, here are some tips to help you be successful in our new learning context…

6 Things to Consider when Moving a Course Online

Mary Chaktsiris

People, instructors and students, are feeling this uncertainty in multiple areas of their lives, and now in the area of course design with a sense of urgency about how to respond and adapt quickly. Abruptly transitioning your course to a new online pedagogical approach three quarters of the way through the term is not how you imagined it unfolding. When approaching the teaching of History, which often revolves around lecture-based transmission of knowledge, moving to digital pedagogies might seem like a stretch for your teaching strategy toolkit. You will need to pivot.

Resources to help you and students understand COVID-19 / Resources for Teaching Online

Jacqueline Wernimont, Cathy N. Davidson, et al.

For the time being, I sincerely think it is worth treating this as unusual – an emergency response, rather than expecting yourself to spin up a well-developed online course. As many people have noted, it takes training, resources, and technology (with support) to do this as a regular practice. I used to work at ASU where departments had studios for developing web-ready content and there was a suite of people whose job it was to help. This is not that scenario…


David Gaertner

This is a short post summarizing some of the research I have done over the past few days in preparation to move my UBC classes online. I owe a debt of gratitude to all of the generous scholars who have posted materials on Twitter and elsewhere–most specifically Jacqueline Wernimont and Cathy N. Davidson for their Teaching in the context of COVID-19 document. First, I think the most important thing to do is to work with what you know. This is not a time to learn new technology or pedagogy and you shouldn’t feel guilty because you don’t have the capacity to learn Blackboard.

Bringing the Flu into the Classroom

Thomas Peace

As many of us find ourselves working from home, and teaching online, I want to use today’s post to share a replicable assignment I used last year to engage students with the history of the Flu and how to use primary sources to study the past. Building on a partnership that Huron’s Community History Centre and Centre for Undergraduate Research Learning developed with Defining Moments Canada, an organization who, a few years ago, challenged history teachers and professors to focus on the Flu, we asked students to read through one week of London’s Free Press and Advertiser as well as the Ontario Death Registers for London and Middlesex County.


Elizabeth Minor

These lesson plans for online learning are adapted from Anthropology, Archaeology, Egyptology, and Digital Humanities courses I have taught at Wellesley College and UC Berkeley. FYI: my area of expertise is Sudanese and Egyptian Archaeology, as well as Museum Studies, Visual Digital Humanities, and Digital Archives. I’m posting these to help me think through how I will finish out the Spring 2020 semester at Wellesley College and as a resource for anyone in a similar situation. This is a brain-dump as I attempt to transition to online teaching next week, so please ignore any typos or run on sentences!

US History COVID-19 Response Online Pedagogy Ideas Shared Doc

Michael Kraemer, et al.

Share assignment ideas, resources, links, knowledge. Put your name on it as YOUR idea so we can cite and credit your brilliance! Be responsible, thoughtful, and civil using this shared document please. My main advice is…keep it simple. Discussion boards are FINE. Not everything has to be a crazy complicated project. You can’t reinvent the wheel in one year of preparing online teaching, nevermind two days or a few weeks. Try out or contribute one new thing and remember that it’s about helping our students explore history, with tech as a vehicle for doing so, not the reverse…

Archaeology Online Content Resources for Teachers and Students

Lewis Borck, et al.

Please add relevant online archaeological and historical content that would help teachers create lesson plans, and or students find content, during episodes of social distancing (and of course after). Content and topics often missed in standard corriculum would be incredibly valuable as well.


Work/Labor Precarious Labor, Student Workers, and Coronavirus

Kelli Yakabu

I’m taking a break from my series “To my fellow LIS Black, Indigenous, and People of Color” to talk about the impact coronavirus has had on the LIS field/students. I’m in Seattle, the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. I live near the Life Care Center of Kirkland, where the first U.S. death occurred and now where over 25 people have died. All Washington state K-12 schools have been cancelled for at least six weeks and the University of Washington, along with other higher education institutions, have moved online. Museums and public libraries have closed to the public, and buses and the streets of Seattle are empty. There’s no longer traffic at rush hour as many people now work from home. But what are the impacts on student library workers, grant-funded workers, or LIS students working on capstones, practicums, or internships?

Academic advice from cancer for the COVID-19 epidemic: let it go

Jonathan Sterne

Now that many societies are essentially moving indoors and toward social distancing, events are being cancelled, courses are going online, and I see a lot of academics in my social media feeds worrying about the talks not given, the events not attended, the work that will be unfinished, the failure to deliver the same course online that they would in the classroom (or they worry that it’s a case of disaster capitalism on the part of university administrations, or they fume that universities are willing to do this but not offer basic accommodations to their crip students). Maybe this is just deeper existential anxiety being worked out on the challenge to everyday life that we’re experiencing. But it may also be a conditioned response given how many academics go about their work lives (including me). My advice: let it go for now.

The People at Work

Seema Rao

This month’s topic was about the people who make up the ecosystem of work. Last week, I rambled about how work is a system. This week, I thought I’d share the stage with others to hear their ideas about their colleagues. And, I will. But, COVID-19 gave a useful coda to last week’s post. If anything shows the interconnectedness of human behavior, infectious disease certainly can. With the near-global diffusion of cell phones, there are very few adults who don’t know there is a virus on the loose. Collective meetings are ideal places for the virus to proliferate. People holding collective gathering spaces are working hard to make the best call about how to proceed. As one site moves to cancel, it sets into motion even more cancellations. The decision-making is happening like a Rube Goldberg, one event after another. And, we are all working through our choices together. There are probably plenty of workers right now trying to make these tough decisions, maybe even putting their health at risk. I appreciate them. Though, I also appreciate all the workers who are doing particularly hard tasks, keeping public spaces clean for example.

When Coronavirus Quarantine Is Class Warfare

Geoffrey Rockwell

The quarantine shows how many services we have available for those who do intellectual work that can be done online. It is as if we were planning to be quarantined for years. The quarantine shows how one class can isolate themselves, but at the expense of a different class that handles all the inconveniences of material stuff and physical encounters of living. We have the permanent jobs with benefits. They deal with delivering food and trash. We can isolate ourselves from diseases, they have to risk disease to work. The gig economy has expanded the class of precarious workers that support the rest of us.

Academic Library Strategies Shift to Closure and Restriction

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Christine Wolff-Eisenberg

On Wednesday, March 11, at 8:00 pm ET, we deployed the “Academic Library Response to COVID19” survey in order to gather as-it-happens data from and for the academic library community. On Friday we presented our analysis of the first 24 hours of responses (n=213). Today we compare those results with the data gathered over the subsequent 48 hours (n=194).


Data and Data Visualization Coronavirus, a Visual Rundown

Nathan Yau

And, as I’m sure you heard, the World Health Organization classified Covid-19 as a pandemic. Naturally, I continued voraciously consuming information about the coronavirus. Here’s a rundown of the useful visuals that have crossed my way. They didn’t help with the uneasiness, but they at least provide a window into what’s happening.

Mapping coronavirus, responsibly

Kenneth Field

We live in an amazing time as far as cartography is concerned. Technology allows, and actively supports rapid, democratized mapping. Data, compiled and published in near real-time (if not actual real-time) encourages people to get their hands dirty to see what they can make. Media outlets all rush to provide their audience with fast, visible content. Social media drives sharing of these maps at a breathtaking pace. When you throw in a developing human health story the ingredients are ripe for maps to take centre stage, as they have become with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Let’s take a look at how maps can help shape the narrative and, as concern (fear?) grows, how to map the data responsibly.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research

(Our World in Data) Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina

The purpose of this article on COVID-19 is to aggregate existing research, bring together the relevant data and allow readers to make sense of the published data and early research on the coronavirus outbreak. Most of our work focuses on established problems, for which we can refer to well-established research and data. COVID-19 is different. All data and research on the virus is preliminary; researchers are rapidly learning more about a new and evolving problem. It is certain that the research we present here will be revised in the future. But based on our mission we feel it is our role to present clearly what the current research and data tells us about this emerging problem and especially to provide an understanding of what can and cannot be said based on this available knowledge.

The Visual Evolution of the “Flattening the Curve” Information Graphic

Robert Kosara

Communication has been quite a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, and data visualization hasn’t been the most helpful given the low quality of the data – see Amanda Makulec’s plea to think harder about making another coronavirus chart. A great example of how to do things right is the widely-circulated Flatten the Curve information graphic/cartoon. Here’s a look at the work it is built on and how that has evolved from a figure in an academic paper to one of the clearest pieces of visual communication in some time.


Online Collections and Other Resources Useful distractions: help cultural heritage and scientific projects from home

Mia Ridge

Today I came across the term ‘terror-scrolling’, a good phrase to describe the act of glancing from one COVID-19 update to another. While you can check out galleries, libraries, archives and museums content online or explore the ebooks, magazines and other digital items available from your local library, you might also want to help online projects from scientific and cultural heritage organisations. You can call it ‘online volunteering’ or ‘crowdsourcing’, but the key point is that these projects offer a break from the everyday while contributing to a bigger goal.

Stuck at home? View cultural heritage collections online

Mia Ridge

With people self-isolating to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and educators (as well as people looking for an art or history fix) may be looking to replace in-person trips to galleries, libraries, archives and museums* with online access to images of artefacts and information about them. GLAMs have spent decades getting some of the collections digitised and online so that you can view items and information from home.

School’s Out… Or Is It?

Jenica Jessen, Alexis Rossi

The Internet Archive’s mission is Universal Access to All Knowledge, and that includes making it possible for anyone to receive a quality education, anytime, anywhere. School closures are a perfect time to take advantage of online learning—any student with an internet connection can enjoy a huge variety of books on virtually any subject, even accessing the collections of other schools and public libraries.

Controlled digital lending and Open Libraries: helping libraries and readers in times of crisis

Chris Freeland

What this means is that when libraries face closures in times of crisis, patrons are left with access to only a fraction of the materials that the library holds in its collection. That’s where the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program, powered by controlled digital lending, can help. We empower libraries to turn their print holdings digital, offering digitized versions of the physical books in their collection to their patrons, overcoming distance and closures. We’ve been acquiring and digitizing millions of the most important books – school libraries, entire college libraries, books cited in Wikipedia, books assigned in courses and included in syllabi, etc. – and 1.4 million of those books are now available for anyone to check out online at for free.

Welcome to everybody’s online libraries

John Mark Ockerbloom

Libraries are stepping up to provide these things online. Many libraries have provided online information for years, through our own websites, electronic resources that we license, create, or link to, and other online services. During this crisis, as our primary forms of interaction move online, many of us will be working hard to meet increased demand for digital materials and services (even as many library workers also have to cope with increased demands and stresses on their personal lives). Services are likely to be in flux for a while. I have a few suggestions for the near term…

7 Things To Do If You Can’t Leave The House

Jenica Jessen

“Quarantine,” “isolation,” “social distancing”—there are a lot of names for the same problem. Millions of people are being forced to alter their schedules and stay indoors due to the spread of COVID 19 (coronavirus). If you’re stuck at home, you may be asking yourself exactly what you’re going to do all day… and the Internet Archive is here to help! If you’ve got an internet connection and some time to kill, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained. Here are some of our favorites!


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