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Author: Jeffrey Barlow
Title: About this Issue
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
November 2001

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Source: About this Issue
Jeffrey Barlow

vol. 4, no. 3, November 2001
Article Type: Editorial

About this Issue

Jeffrey Barlow

About this Issue

This issue of the JAHC, the last of our fourth year of publication, would ordinarily be a very pleasant one to prepare. As we finish another calendar year of production, we are always tempted to look back with a certain amount of pride in having survived for X number of years. But the term "survived" has taken on an ominous new tone in American society. However much we like to think of ourselves as an international journal with an editorial staff distributed across the world, the fact is that we are supported largely by the American branch of the Association for History and Computing and are very much resident in American society.

The events of September 11, 2001, are clearly epochal in their implications. We believe that with those events, world history has taken an abrupt turn in its development. Not because we are so parochial to believe that everything that happens to Americans, no matter how trivial or how traumatic, does or should affect the rest of the world, but because we think the Internet itself will be transformed by these events.

In future issues we will try to understand possible changes and analyze them for our readers. For, although we are truly a history journal, we are ourselves very much part of the process of change, both in that the development of the Internet has made us possible, and in that as the first peer-reviewed journal in the field, we have not been without influence. It behooves us to understand these changes as best we can as they are developing. Naturally, we would prefer the comfortable distance from events that the doing of truly good history requires. But as an electronic journal we also need to be able to anticipate developments as well as to recognize and analyze them well after they have become fact.

This issue is not untouched by the events of 9-11. One of our editors, Deborah Lines Andersen, in her "Benchmarks" feature "September 11, Loss and Creation," writes of them both as an occasion for grieving, and as a challenge to record keepers and historians. In my editorial essay, "Netwar," I try to present my own understanding of the context of the attacks from the viewpoint of a historian who has frequently worked with wars and violence and who is very interested in the impact of the Internet.

But life goes on, for scholars as well as for the country and the world. Birten Celik, a scholar now working in the United States, gives us great insight into the academic study of history via electronic means in a very different culture, that of her homeland, Turkey. Her article, "Web-based History Education in Turkey," reminds us that we do live in a truly global era, with both delightful and sometimes horrific consequences. Birten shows us many of the same problems we face in dealing with the rapid spread of electronic materials and teaching methods are also encountered in Turkish schools.

Douglas Harms and Dave Berque of the Computer Science Department at DePauw University in Indiana rather reverse the usual manner in which we as historians interact with computer scientists. Ordinarily we are probably borrowing far more from computing science than we are giving back. But Harms and Berque discuss the teaching of both history and computer science by the use of historical artifacts, in this case, old hardware. Their article, "Smaller and Faster is not Always Better" makes an excellent use of graphics and conveys some of the excitement that their students must feel in their truly innovative classroom.

Another of our editors, G.K. Peatling, teams with C. M. Baggs, a colleague from the Department of Information and Library Studies at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, to discuss an innovative environment, the use of Active Server pages to create a web-based interface to a complex historical relational database. Peatling and Baggs discuss not only the advantages of this approach, in a very detailed "how to" analysis, but also the instances in which such an approach would not be appropriate.

And in a season when we are hearing so many historical analogies used to illuminate current events and sometimes perhaps inappropriately to justify policy decisions, our Book editor David Staley reviews three works in his essay "Digital Historiography: Analogies". As always, David not only illuminates the books themselves, but the wider problem around which they center, in this case, historical analogies.

In this issue, we also offer an unusually full slate of articles of use to educators at all levels. Our K-12 editor, D. Antonio Cantu, writes on "Teaching the American Revolution and Founding of the American Republic on the Web." John I. Brooks discusses " Implementing an Internet-Enhanced History Teaching Environment", and Steven Burt "Manufacturing Understanding: Brain-based Learning and the Internet in the High School Classroom." And we finally manage to present Gloria Petrie's " Plans, Procedures and PC's: Using PC's to Facilitate Learning in the K-12 Classroom" in most of its graphically-intensive glory.

Our regular feature editors also provide us with a rich variety of reviews and notices. J. Kelly Robison and Daniel Pfeifer present a review by Erik Hofstee of Michigan State University of "SuperQuery" a very robust data-mining program. Ryan Johnson and Lynn Hattendorf Westney, Coeditors of "E-Journals—Inside and Out" review a number of useful journals and articles.

David Staley and Julie Holcomb, book review editors, assisted by David Price, review several useful and influential books. And Scott Merriman, our Electronic Site Reviews editor brings us back where we began, with reviews of sites relevant to September 11, 2001.

We wish all of our editors, writers, and readers happy holidays and a joyous New Year.

Jeffrey Barlow
Editor, JAHC
December, 2001