By Dr Marta Musso (@martamusso)
For Historical Archives, investing in digitisation is an extremely expensive, time consuming, and complex endeavour. It is well worth the effort, but it is fundamental to implement all the opportunities that digital technologies offer to archives. Since the beginning of the millennium, archives and cultural heritage institutions have started to reflect on the new challenges and opportunities brought about by the digital age. The guidelines created in 2002 by the International Council of Archives indicated full digitisation and online availability of archival material as the main objective for archives in the digital age. Now, even in a utopic world where archives had infinite budget and resources, this is a very long-term and ambitious goal – we are talking about millions, trillions of paper and analogue documents that need to be digitised and indexed online. At the same time, opening its heritage to everyone in the world is the goal of any archive; and for national and public archives it is part of their mandate.
Know something about an eminent woman? Think it should be shared? Newnham College Cambridge are marking International Women’s Day 2017 by improving the gender balance of Wikipedia, and they’re looking for contributors. Read more
By Kayt Button, @kayt_button
Today we collect a vast array of readily available information in the form of statistics, stories, reports, and videos available publicly on the internet or through more official channels. These are created by journalists, public servants, and the public at large who are able to self-publish. Before the advent of what has been named “Big Data”, events were written down, or photographed, by a few individuals and published. Before that, pictures and oral histories recorded important events. All these sources have their own difficulties – in the case of Big Data, as the name suggests, the volumes of available information can be overwhelming. Hard copy written sources were authored by someone and understanding the writer can be as important as what they reported, which is also true of oral history, drawings, and photographic evidence. Read more
By Louise Moschetta, @LouiseMoschetta
Since the 1990s, in the early days of internet and the final demise of the floppy disk, new notions of knowledge have been hashed out on a global stage. With the dial-up sound (for those nostalgic for a slower, more complicated age, click here) came the possibility of an exchange of knowledge and interconnectivity which had never quite been achieved before. And with this possibility arose ideas of openness, of transnational sharing in virtual form which simply could not be attainable in a material shape. Read more
Our blogger at DHP, Janine Noack, is a science reporter for the WeberWorldCafe blog, which is hosting a World War I event today starting 2 P.M (CET) or 12 P.M. GMT, for those of us in the UK. The theme of the WeberWorldCafé is “Narrating the First World War – Experiences and Reports from Transregional Perspectives”. There will be updates on Twitter under the hashtag #1wwc.
The event today will have six different table panels presenting, and each panel is based upon a geographical region: 1. Western Europe, 2. Central Europe, 3. Eastern Europe, 4. North America/Oceania, 5. Western Asia, 6. Near and Middle East, 7. East Asia/South Asia, 8. Africa. Check out the WeberWorldCafe blog for more on the panels!
Read more about the event here.
by Janine Noack and Tiia Sahrakorpi
On January 28th, 2014 Sir Richard J. Evans gave a Q&A session to Cambridge University MPhil and Ph.D students on what it has been like to work and research as a prominent historian in the digital age and earlier. Students sent in various questions about his career and how history has changed since he was a student.
by Emily Ward
The British Library is one of those resources which can be so initially overwhelming that you don’t know the first place to start in order to make the best use of it. With over 56 million items, even navigating through the 17 different online catalogues seemed a daunting prospect to me. It was for this reason that I decided to attend one of the Doctoral Open Days run by the library, which are specifically aimed at postgraduates in the first year of PhD study.
by Hira Amin
To showcase the sheer diversity in research being undertaken at the University of Cambridge by history MPhil and PhD students, I decided to create a map pinning each student to their research area. This brief article will outline the thought process and actions behind the final product.