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  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Cambridge prof Mary Beard forces apology from Twitter troll

    Television historian and Cambridge professor Mary Beard has forced a Twitter troll to apologise after publicly naming and shaming him.The male Twitter user had sent an obscene message to Professor Beard that she then retweeted to her 42,000 followers, saying she was "not going to be terrorised."...

  • Originally published 06/18/2013

    Senate History Just Got a Little More Social

    The U.S. Senate Historical Office has just debuted a Twitter feed designed to highlight the digital collections available on its website."Technology changes," says chief Senate historian Donald Ritchie, "and we must constantly adjust" to the ever-changing demands of the public.@SenateHistory went live yesterday, and already has nearly two hundred followers. The opening tweet shone a spotlight on the office's extensive resources on the Senate Watergate committee (the infamous break-in celebrated its forty-first anniversary yesterday).Beth Hahn, historical editor at the Senate Historical Office, said that they are also considering expanding their social media presence to Facebook, as well as other platforms. "We know the National Archives has been doing a lot with Pinterest," she related. Even YouTube is not out of the question -- while most of the Senate oral histories, a major role of the office, are not videotaped, Hahn said that there's a great deal of rare and interesting footage of committee hearings -- including the Watergate hearings -- in the Senate archives.

  • Originally published 02/22/2013

    Lucinda Matthews-Jones: Facebooking the Past

    Lucinda Matthews-Jones is a lecturer in history at Liverpool John Moore (UK), where she teaches nineteenth-century British History. Details of her research can be found on her academia.edu profile. She also blogs and co-edits the Journal of Victorian Culture: www.victorianculture.com. She tweets from @luciejones83.Digital databases have provided scholars with new ways to access source material. Have we been quick enough to extend these benefits to our students? As a history lecturer, I am keen to encourage students to get their hands dirty by exploring a number of different kinds of primary source databases. Just before Christmas, I decided that I wanted to use digital sources in a different way. I wanted my students not just to find source material but also to use it, digitally, in ways that showed their understanding of lecture topics.There was also a practical reason for this change of gear. Having recently been appointed to a new lectureship, I was faced with a new challenge: how to devise a 28 week long nineteenth century gender history module that would not necessarily rely on the traditional lecture/seminar format that I had been used to.

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    Keith Harris: Can Social Media Bridge the Gulf Between Academic Historians and the Public?

    Keith Harris blogs at Cosmic America and holds a PhD in history from the University of Virginia.Greetings Cosmic Americans!Of course, I believe that the answer is yes. This summer, I will take part in a panel at the Civil War Institute’s annual conference at Gettysburg College with fellow Civil War bloggers Kevin Levin, Brooks Simpson, and Mark Grimsley. The so-called “gulf” is one of the principal issues that I will be addressing.Years ago, before the Internet opened the doors for real-time access to just about anyone anywhere in the world, the television historical documentary probably stood alone as the medium most likely to serve as the middle ground on which academic historians and an informed public might relate.

  • Originally published 01/10/2013

    Historians on Reddit?

    Reddit logo.“Don’t quote Wikipedia!” This professor’s lament has become the figurative starting gun for the beginning of every college semester. It seems that one cannot begin to learn a subject without first being warned that citing the dreaded website in any research paper should be avoided at all costs. A student referring to Wikipedia is an offense perhaps only topped by plagiarism (or, by default, a worse offense would be plagiarizing Wikipedia). However, in our world of constantly shifting paradigms, Wikipedia has gained some competition in the hunt for the attention of the student researcher.Take, for example, Reddit, the world’s largest Internet message board.

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