This week’s readings, specifically Stephen Ramsey’s article «Who’s In? Who’s Out?,» really got me thinking about (again) about how Digital History is defined and why (or if) coding is an important skill for any digital historian. There are a large number of tools available to allow historians to analyze sources and make arguments using technology, many that don’t require a significant amount of coding knowledge. Specifically, I’m thinking of something such as MALLET, which a number of us used for our final Clio I projects.

I’m all finished with my first semester in the PhD program at George Mason University. Below is a reflection on the time the Digital History Fellows have spent in the Public Projects Division at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. My first semester here has been deeply rewarding and I think the Digital History Fellowship has allowed me to really develop a deeper understanding of Digital History and the goals for both public history, education, and particularly the potential of digital tools for historical research.

The final version of my Clio Wired Project, «Shifts in Physical Culture,» is online now. It has been quite the process getting everything formatted correctly–I realized after I presented that I had made a mistake and did not included all of the articles when I ran the topic modeling software so I had to adjust that. Overall the results are the same–there is a definite change in the discussion of physical culture between 1932 and 1937.

My work of digital scholarship uses Topic Modeling to analyze a set of articles written by Sylvia Ullback, a beauty expert in the 1930s, between 1932 and 1937. Ullback’s articles shift during this period and the change in her discussion of beauty can be seen in the topic models. For more background on Sylvia Ullback and her career see the website for this project. This is a work in progress and I’ll give more detail about the changes tonight in class but here is what I have so far:

Collaboration isn’t new for historians. A piece of historical scholarship has always involved a range of people. The prologue of most traditional monographs includes a list of those who helped make the book possible. From the support and assistance of archivists and librarians, to review and support by fellow scholars and students, and often financial support from institutions and publishers publishing a work of traditional scholarship is by no means an individual endeavor.