The History Database Project

Here at MapScholar, we are interested in more than just visualizing old maps.  How can digital tools enable more effective research?  What should we be teaching advanced students about the best ways to gather, manage, and analyze information?  Although my university, the University of Virginia, has one of the most active Digital Humanities communities in the country, one that is particularly engaged with student learning, there’s one thing that it doesn’t support well: helping students pursue their core work as scholars by teaching them how to design and make use of relational databases.  The graduate students I work with have been clamoring for guidance on this score.  At the U.Va. Early American Seminar–the research community that Alan Taylor and I lead at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello–we put a session on the schedule for the end of January 2018 in the hopes of finding someone on Grounds who could model best practices in database design for history research, explain the functionality of different software packages, and perhaps even build us a template for taking notes, planning writing projects, and managing digital resources.  No luck!  So, I’ve volunteered to do this.  By the end of January, I will produce a FileMaker Pro 16 database template and walk our early Americanists through its construction and tool sets.  Along the way, I’ll use this space to gather links, feature tools, field questions, and stimulate discussions.  Stay tuned–I’ll be posting regularly to Facebook and Twitter to alert you of new posts–and please chime in.

Max Edelson

5 thoughts on “The History Database Project

  1. This sounds like a great plan, Max. I’m putting together some Friday afternoon “DH Code Studio” events, and I think it would be great to have a series on databases.

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