Digital Collaborative Digital History

AHA Session 110
Friday, January 6, 2017: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Governor's Square 14 (Sheraton Denver Downtown, Plaza Building Concourse Level)
Stephen Robertson, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University
Jim Clifford, University of Saskatchewan
Myron P. Gutmann, University of Colorado at Boulder
Emily K. Merchant, Dartmouth College
Ian Milligan, University of Waterloo
Stephen Robertson, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University

Session Abstract

Sole authored publications continue to dominate the historical profession. In North America, we mostly work individually and independently on our thesis and dissertations throughout graduate school and then continue this approach throughout our careers. Digital history and research focused on advanced methodologies are exceptions to this trend. Teams are common in large digital history projects and multi-authored publications are more common in journals such as Historical Methods. In some cases this reflects crossover with the collaborative research more common in the social sciences. Grants, such as the Digging Into Data initiative, also promote collaborative and even transnational research. Moreover, digital history often requires interdisciplinary partnerships with computer scientists, computational linguists, social scientists, librarians and web developers. Until recently, technological barriers made collaboration the only option for many digital projects. However, while teamwork remains common, historians are using websites such as the Programming Historian to learn more advanced digital skills and the many digital methods are becoming more accessible for researchers without advanced computer skills. Graduate students and historians more generally are now able to do advanced spatial history and topic modelling research without the support of a large team. This roundtable will explore the advantages, challenges and limitations of collaborative digital history research.
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