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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Digital History and the shaping of historical knowledge (HIST10381)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryDigitization has transformed the potentials for the research, writing and dissemination of historical knowledge. Simultaneously, the advent of web-based social media is reshaping the accessibility of academic history, and suggests new methods for conducting and disseminating historical research. The emerging fields within Digital Humanities include Digital History. This course will explore the implications of the ┐computational turn┐ for the research, writing and dissemination of history, considering Digital History in relation to the histories of information, and the book, and more widely within Cultural and Public History.

Course description Examining the scholarly applications of technology that enable researchers to analyze primary sources at a scale not previously possible, this course will ask students to engage critically with the potentials and problems associated with Digital History. In particular, weekly seminars will explore the research potentials of text-mining, visualisation, mapping and crowd-sourcing for historians, as well as examining the applications of social media, such as blogs and twitter to the research and dissemination processes. We will also develop the intellectual tools students need to critique the sources they are increasingly using for research online.

At the same time, weekly worksheets will help to develop students┐ digital literacy skills, in their own study time, enabling them to create their own small digital projects within a scholarly environment, which is also informed by the public potentials of such projects. Each week students also contribute to a class blog on the theme of the week, and to a class twitter suggesting relevant digital projects for the class as a group to explore.

1. Introduction to Digital History
2. Histories of Information and the book
3. Digitization and the computational turn: potentials and problems for history
4. Visualization and images: from the Pudding Lane project to Manyeyes
5. Digital mapping, geo-referencing and the spatial turn: Digimap, Hypercities, and Mapping the Lakes
6. Data-mining (quantitative): the Old Bailey records
7. Text-mining (qualitative): distant reading (Moretti)
8. Individual meetings to discuss and feedback on coursework digital projects.
9. Crowd-sourcing: the Bentham transcription project, Operation War Diary, Crowdscribe
10. Social media: research and dissemination via twitter, blogs, facebook.
11. Summary of literature

This course suggests new ways to visualise and question the history that students have already acquired at pre-honours and honours level, at the same time as introducing them an emerging field in digital history.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503780).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 40 %, Coursework 20 %, Practical Exam 40 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One written piece of coursework, 2000 words, to be delivered in week 10
One digital project equating to 1000 words, to be delivered in week 11
One written exam in the May diet, two hours, two questions
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material, digital projects, and open source visualisation and mapping software;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral, written and digital form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers, and to work within a team.
Reading List
Cohen, D. and R. Rosenzweig. Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web (Philadelphia, 2007).
Berry, David M., ed., Understanding Digital Humanities (Basingstoke, 2012)
Berry, David M., ┐The Computational Turn, in Culture Machine, 12 (2011)
Weller, Martin, Digital scholar: how technology is transforming scholarly practice (London, 2011)
Weller, Toni, History in the Digital Age (London, 2013)
Weller, Toni, Information History in the Modern World: Histories of the Information Age (Basingstoke, 2011)
Schreibman, Susan, Ray Siemens and John Unsworth (eds.), A Companion to Digital Humanities (Oxford, 2004)
Darnton, Robert, The History of Books and the Digital Future (2010)
Weel, Adrian van der, Changing our Textual Minds: Towards a digital order of knowledge (Manchester, 2011)
Michel, Jean-Baptiste, et al., ┐Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books┐, Science, 331:6014 (2011), 176-182
Gregory, Ian N., and Paul S. Ell, Historical GIS: technologies, methodologies and scholarship, Cambridge studies in historical geography, 39 (Cambridge, 2007)
Knowles, Anne Kelly (ed.), Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship (Redland, 2008)
Finkelstein, David, and Alistair McCleery (eds.), The Book History Reader, 2nd ed. (Abingdon, 2006)
Journals: History and Computing (to 2007); International journal of humanities and arts computing especially issue number 8:1 (2014); Digital Humanities Quarterly (from 2007); Journal of Digital Humanities (open-access, online)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will help students develop a range of transferrable skills including:

the ability to gather, sift, organise and evaluate metadata
the ability to develop an individual project, and to work as a team-member on a class project
digital literacy skills including HTML coding, digital mapping, geo-referencing, basic web-site and blog design
online research skills and awareness of relevant databases
utilising social media for research and dissemination purposes
the ability to write across a range of genres
the capacity to evaluate critically digital projects and online sources
Course organiserDr Anna Groundwater
Tel: 0131 (6)50 2553
Course secretaryMiss Clare Guymer
Tel: (0131 6)50 4030
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