Blog Post

Idea for group project

My idea is to create a searchable database of online resources for history educators. It's annotated and searchable by topic, level of education, type of resource (database, exhibit, lesson plans, etc).

Would love to hear other ideas as well!



I like this idea, but I worry that it will be too similar to  Perhaps, we could work on creating a similar database for a more specific topic?


I agree with Nabeel that such a database would be too similar to Teaching History and maybe we can consider something along the same lines, but a more specific topic.

Programming Historian ( is a favorite of mine for its DH aspects. I know that not all of us in this group have programming experience, but could we consider maybe adding a submission to their lesson plans or finding another way to integrate their lessons with something else? Perhaps doing a project which uses one of the lessons provided?

Alternatively, a project I would be interested in is culling a YouTube channel of lessons we teach frequently in history. This is something I've been considering doing for a while and have a long list of 2-4 minute videos I intend to make aimed at the undergraduate audience, covering such topics as "objectivity/subjectivity in history," "bias," "important components in an analytical history paper," etc.


Hi Friends,

   Another idea popped into my head.  A few months ago, one of the higher-ups at Rap Genius came to talk to the Digital History Working Group at Duke University.  He pointed out the academic/pedagogical advantages of using Rap Genius as a platform of collective annotation. He also noted that the works of Abraham Lincoln are on the site, but no one has annotated them.  Perhaps we could coordinate an "Annotate Rap Genius" day (similar to the collective, Feminists Engage Wikipedia event in March 2013?).  I'm not a scholar of Abraham Lincoln (and I surmise that many of you are not either)...but, I think we could accomplish something really great with a simple one-day event like this.  We don't necessarily have to focus on Lincoln.


I just received an email from Rap Genius.  They just set up a discussion forum for Educators using the site. According to the email, "This is a space for teachers and professors to discuss classroom applications of the Genius platform. Feel free to share assignments and success stories, or to ask for help troubleshooting a problem that you’re having on the site. What’s next? Private forums for class-specific discussion! Soon Genius will be the one-stop platform for all your pedagogical needs."

Might be worth jumping on board.


As a documentary editor, I'd second a day of crowdsourced transcription/annotation, and I'd be willing to contact the Lincoln editorial project as well. With Lincoln's birthday on 12 Feb., we could do this any time that month, to maximize participation.Thoughts?


Brilliant!  I think this could be a really dynamic project!


I'm on board with this!


I like this idea. If we do this, I'd also like for us to write up about the experience addressing successes and challenges.  My only hesistation about this project is the company behind the website.  From what I can tell, it's a for-profit and not open source. So, people would be annotating and adding value to their site with no way to export their work in a way that allows one to easily repurpose their work.  I'm fine with pursuing this project but I wanted to bring up these issues for discussion before we move forward. 


I think this is an extremely important point to keep in mind.  While I am ok with doing the RapGenius idea, I believe that people should be free to express their disinterest in it.  If we all cannot agree on the topic, perhaps we should find a different project.

@Lauren: I saw you at ASA, but I did not get a chance to speak.  You had a great project though.  


At Vanderbilt's recent THATCamp, Dr. Elizabeth Meadows did a presentation on Prism by UVA's Scholars' Lab ( that may be a viable alternative to Rap Genius if people don't want ads, want to use it in a classroom setting where sometimes offensive rap lyrics may not be safe for all viewers, or would rather support an entity like UVA rather than a for-profit business.

Also, I apologize, but this is not a project where I can participate. I am already running one DH project in a course (involving Omeka and primary sources) and this one doesn't fit my current needs.


Here's another idea: Given the recent discussion over peer review standards and the blossoming of professional encouragemet for digital practice (more postdoc's, a formal grant structure in place, greater conference visibility), it might be worth hosting a forum on the future of digital history. Are we still in the "first-gen" period of DH scholarship? Let's ask junior and senior scholars to reflect a bit on where the field is going, and how best to shape it. What rights and responsiblities do digital historians have? This forum can 1) draw in a generous spectrum  of participants from inside/outside the university 2) offer a much-needed "state of the field" on digital history 3) suggest technical goals/show how digital and "traditional" forms of scholarship interact 4) relate to larger conversations on digital citizenship and the value of humanities research in modern sociey. I realize this is a bit broad, but I know HASTAC'ers can help refine it...thoughts?


Hi there. I am also a 2014 Scholar but I am not in your group. I do have a BA and MA in History. I think you guys are on the right track, many need a resource like the annotation one you are discussing, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.


Hi Group Members,

Some of our reviewers for the Digital History Spring Series have bowed out. Would anyone like to review a book to be featured this semester in the Digital History group? If so, please contact me and/or Ben Weber.

Thanks for Considering.


I am reposting my previous comments to my own blog on HASTAC


I thought it might be useful to give the HASTAC Scholars a sense of the type of people we are at MarineLives, should any of you be interested in working with us, and the documents we are working with.

Petition of John Martindorp in the High Court of Admiralty, London, 1650s


Volunteer facilitators and associates on our first collaborative transcription programme, September 2012 - March 2013

Deborah Ashby (Graduate in history (with English) from University of Keele), Rachel Bates (Graduate of Master's programme at University of Portsmouth), Katie Broke (Westminster School), Elio Calcagno (Master's student, University of Nottingham), Giovanni Colavizza (now Research Assistant at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne), Dr Janet Few (self-employed historical interpreter, lecturer, local and family historian), Jamie LeAnne Hager Goodall (PhD candidate, Ohio State University), Colin Greenstreet (Co-director, MarineLives), Karen Gunnell (freelance archivist), Dr Liam Haydon (PhD in Milton studies at University of Manchester, post-doctoral fellow, now in department of History, University of Kent), Philip Hnatkovich (PhD candidate, Penn State), Alex Jackson (graduate of Masters programme at University of Sheffield, museum educationalist), William Kellett (GAP year student, now University of Cambridge), David Pashley (retired healthcare administrator and classicist), Dr Cathryn Pearce Boyd (academic and freelance historian, specialising in Marine history), Patrizia Rebulla (Project Manager, In Mozart's Words), Daniel Richards (Westminster School, now at University of Bristol studying history), Margaret Schotte (PhD candidate in History of Science, Princeton University), Laura Seymour (PhD candidate in department of English, Birkbeck College, London), Ida Sjoberg (Westminster School), Gordon O'Sullivan (Master's programme in digital humanities at Trinity College, Dublin, now freelance project manager), Alexis Harasemovitch Truax (PhD candidate, University of Texas at Austin), William Tullett (Master's, now PhD candidate, at King's College, London in department of History), Jill Wilcox (High school teacher and co-director, MarineLives)

Example of transcription and content, HCA 13/72 f.390v


Further information

For further information on the English High Court of Admiralty in the C17th, see our Project Manual which our team put together in 2012 and early 2013


Hi everyone, 

It seems like time is moving quickly, so thought I'd bring up the idea of using RapGenius/ Prism again.  What if picked a text and a group of us annotated them on a series of flatforms 1. Rap Genius 2. Prism 3. CommenPress or something like that. Then, we wrote up about the pros and cons of each collaborative system.  It would then link in well with the pedagogy project.  So we could pick three days and all work on one of these systems together and on the same document:

Day 1: Rape Genium (or whichever tool we choose)

Day 2: Prism (or whichever tool we choose)

Day 3: Comment Press (or whichever tool we choose)


Meantime, keep a google doc of pros and cons and then write up a review of the process. I'm totally flexible about what kinds of documents we use. Perhaps Lincoln speechs as suggested before or perhaps a civil rights related document (40 years since Civil Rights Act)?

Just throwing something out that that seems perhaps more managable since it's already the end of February. Wow does time fly!