Monthly Archives: February 2008

Quick note…

If I jam up your feed reader, sorry about that… I’ve decided to start giving a full-text RSS feed, because apparently, partial content feeds suck.

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Digital History: It’s Child’s Play

National History Day has recently included web sites as an acceptable type of presentation.

Or, I probably should put it, they’ve recently included “web sites” as an acceptable type of presentation. The sites are required to be on a single CD-Rom– something I find somewhat problematic, as it doesn’t allow students to link to outside sources, use APIs or third party hosting… So putting Youtube videos in the site, or using the Google Maps API are out. In forcing the students to create sites that can’t have elements from other sites integrated, you’re taking a step back and forcing them to make very strictly Web 1.0 material. Actually, by creating sites that are completely self-contained– by putting them on CD rather than hosting them online– you’re actually killing part of the point of web 1.0… hypertext should be expansive, not self-contained.

I understand that they’re trying to make the project more inclusive, by removing the barriers presented to poorer students by not forcing them to pay for hosting services… but it kind of defeats the point of making a web page, if you ask me.

But this is all just a digression. National History Day puts together books about each type of presentation, introducing students to best methods, tricks of the trade, how to exploit the medium to its fullest, what have you. A friend of mine is helping to work on the new book for websites. A group of us were sitting around recently, with her, brainstorming about what should or should not be included. How do you explain to an audience of middle and high school students the real potential of digital history– especially with the limitations of making a web site with a limited word count that has to fit on a single disk? How much do you talk about HTML, CSS, etc, or do you assume that they’ll be using WYSIWYG design programs? Continue reading

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Digital History: It’s Child’s Play

National History Day has recently included web sites as an acceptable type of presentation.

Or, I probably should put it, they’ve recently included “web sites” as an acceptable type of presentation. The sites are required to be on a single CD-Rom– something I find somewhat problematic, as it doesn’t allow students to link to outside sources, use APIs or third party hosting… So putting Youtube videos in the site, or using the Google Maps API are out. In forcing the students to create sites that can’t have elements from other sites integrated, you’re taking a step back and forcing them to make very strictly Web 1.0 material. Actually, by creating sites that are completely self-contained– by putting them on CD rather than hosting them online– you’re actually killing part of the point of web 1.0… hypertext should be expansive, not self-contained.

I understand that they’re trying to make the project more inclusive, by removing the barriers presented to poorer students by not forcing them to pay for hosting services… but it kind of defeats the point of making a web page, if you ask me.

But this is all just a digression. National History Day puts together books about each type of presentation, introducing students to best methods, tricks of the trade, how to exploit the medium to its fullest, what have you. A friend of mine is helping to work on the new book for websites. A group of us were sitting around recently, with her, brainstorming about what should or should not be included. How do you explain to an audience of middle and high school students the real potential of digital history– especially with the limitations of making a web site with a limited word count that has to fit on a single disk? How much do you talk about HTML, CSS, etc, or do you assume that they’ll be using WYSIWYG design programs? Continue reading

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Let’s Play Ukulele: A Great Use of Dynamic Website Design

What does the Leisurely Historian do in his leisure time?

Well, given that I’m a grad student, there’s not a whole lot leisure time, to be honest. I spend most of it feeling guilty that I’m not working or reading.

But over winter break, I finally broke down and did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I bought a ukulele. I love the sound, it’s easy to play, it’s compact, the small neck is easy for my somewhat stubby and ungraceful fingers.

Playing the ukulele isn’t like playing guitar, though. There’s not as many people who play it. I have two friends who even own one– one lives over an hour away, in Baltimore, and the other lives in Texas. Lessons are out, too. When was the last time you looked at a bulletin board and saw someone advertising uke lessons?

So, being the nerd that I am, I turned to the internet. Continue reading

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Let’s Play Ukulele: A Great Use of Dynamic Website Design

What does the Leisurely Historian do in his leisure time?

Well, given that I’m a grad student, there’s not a whole lot leisure time, to be honest. I spend most of it feeling guilty that I’m not working or reading.

But over winter break, I finally broke down and did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I bought a ukulele. I love the sound, it’s easy to play, it’s compact, the small neck is easy for my somewhat stubby and ungraceful fingers.

Playing the ukulele isn’t like playing guitar, though. There’s not as many people who play it. I have two friends who even own one– one lives over an hour away, in Baltimore, and the other lives in Texas. Lessons are out, too. When was the last time you looked at a bulletin board and saw someone advertising uke lessons?

So, being the nerd that I am, I turned to the internet. Continue reading

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Another call for Open Access

Just a couple days after I talked about Open Access book publishing, the incomparable danah boyd, in her blog, calls for the elimination of locked-down academic journals and databases. I’m all for her idea– after all, we’re all accessing journals … Continue reading

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Open Access Academic Publishing

Dan Cohen’s blog has brought to my attention an interesting article by Charles Bazerman, David Blakesley, Mike Palmquist, and David Russell about the positive response to their book, Writing Selves/Writing Societies.

If the data they collected from their experience in electronic, open access academic publishing is generalizable, it presents a strong argument that this is something we should all be looking into. Continue reading

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Welcome to the New Home of the Leisurely Historian…

I’ve started an assistantship at the Center for History and New Media, and as a part of that, I’m having to learn to do a WordPress installation. Since I had this URL and a hosting account sitting around basically unused for the last six months, I thought I’d take the opportunity to learn by doing, and set up a WordPress blog over here. […]

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