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Author: Jeremy Boggs
Title: Electronic Resources Column
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
February 2007

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Source: Electronic Resources Column
Jeremy Boggs

vol. 10, no. 1, February 2007
Article Type: Column

Electronic Resources Column

Jeremy Boggs

Column Editor

History Blogosphere: An Introduction

The weblog is nearly as old as the World Wide Web itself, yet blogging has proliferated only in the last 5 to 7 years. Put simply, a weblog is a personal publishing system that consists of blog "posts" displayed in reverse chronological order. While the first weblogs were coded by hand and written by only the most technologically-savvy, the recent availability of free, easy-to-use blogging services such as Blogger, WordPress and TypePad has ushered in a new era in blogging, allowing almost anyone with the time and interest to publish content to the web.

The blogosphere (the wider pool of indexed weblogs on the World Wide Web) abounds with content, and history is one of many popular topics. Professional historians and enthusiasts alike share equal footing in the blogosphere, creating a diverse dialog about the past. Cliopatria, a group blog hosted by the History News Network, boasts a blogroll of over 400 active weblogs covering a variety of topics in or related to history. This number is only increasing. To help readers new to the world of weblogs, this column serves as an introduction to some of the best history blogging on the web.

  1. The History Carnival is a bimonthly blog carnival that features nominated history blog posts. It began in January 2005 and is hosted by a different blog each edition. The History Carnival serves as a way to recognize the best in history blogging every few weeks. A few of the best carnival editions include Rob MacDougall's January 15, 2006 edition and the September 15, 2005 edition at Respectful Insolence. Other history-related blog carnivals include the Carnival of Bad History, the Asian History Carnival, and Carnivalesque (pre-modern history).
  2. Mentioned earlier, Cliopatria is a must-read for anyone interested in getting acquainted to the history blogosphere. Cliopatriarch Ralph Luker and company regularly post on history in the news, current events, and links to other blog posts.
  3. Early Modern Notes is maintained by Sharon Howard, a scholar of early modern English history and women's history, and legal history. Howard began the History Carnival, and is among the most widely-read history blogs available.
  4. Digital History Hacks is authored by Professor William Turkel at the University of Western Ontario. Without question, this blog epitomizes what it means to practice digital history. Turkel writes accessible, informative posts on strategies for "data mining," history content, and new directions for the field of digital history. Digital History Hacks draws a nice balance between historian and new media aficionado.
  5. Chapati Mystery is written by Manan Ahmed, a graduate student at the University of Chicago. Ahmed writes about south Asian history and culture and the intersections of digital technology and the humanities. Recently, Ahmed composed the Polyglot Manifesto I and II, both of which outline the need for present and future humanists to speak the "future-ese" that is digital humanities.
  6. Dan Cohen embodies the best in digital humanities blogging. Cohen has written on topics ranging from the recent deal between the National Archives and Footnote, Inc. to the impact of blogging on academia. Cohen's series of posts, Creating a Blog from Scratch, chronicles Cohen's foray into blogging, with insightful commentary on the various technologies that make up the weblog.
  7. Civil War Memory is the self-proclaimed "reflections of a high school history teacher," Kevin Levin. Levin is a published scholar of the American Civil War. His posts critique current scholarship on the Civil War and appeal to academics and enthusiasts alike.
  8. Behind Antietam on the Web is a behind-the-scenes look at Brian Downey's site, Antietam on the Web. Downey blogs about the American Civil War in general and about digital history and the technologies Downey uses to put history on the web. Behind Antietam on the Web serves as an example of how one historian can create meaningful, engaging history on the web.
  9. T. Mills Kelly's edwired keeps readers up-to-date on the latest news regarding humanities, pedagogy, and new media. Kelly is a renowned expert in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and has written on Wikipedia, Flickr, podcasting, and educational uses of blogging.
  10. David Davidson's Patahistory is indeed "a hot & infinitely dense blog." One of the most entertaining, richly-written history blogs on the web, Patahistory reviews current events, popular culture, and digital humanities.
  11. Frog in a Well is actually three different blogs: Each covering (though not exclusively) the histories of China, Japan, and Korea. Jonathan Dresner, K. M. Lawson, and company write on a variety of topics from archaeological news to historiographical debates.
  12. At Bibliodyssey, "PK" provides readers with a consistent dose of vivid imagery from times past and succinct explanations and summaries of the illustrations featured in PK's posts. Most of Bibliodyssey's content focuses on medieval and early modern illustrations and other imagery.

One can access these blogs and carnivals, and articles about them, by pointing Google at the site name in each case.