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No wonder we historians are bad at math – they keep changing the answers

Apropos an old thread on naming wars based off their duration (and how complicated that really is), this story appeared recently on my History News Network feed. It’s neither early modern nor European, but it’s been a busy six months.

file-jan-13-9-59-00-pm

Story from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/11/world/asia/china-japan-textbooks-war.html?_r=0

Professor: “How long was the Eight-Year War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression”?
Student: “Eight years.”
Professor: “Wrong. Fourteen.”

My main thought: while it’s nice that there’s an official name for wars, just imagine the need to change all those references and Library of Congress subject headings. Ugh.

 

Download ’em while you got ’em

Those in the US know already about the federal government shutdown. Academic denizens of the Internet also know that this has led to the shuttering of the DC Zoo’s Panda Cam, but also to the Library of Congress’ website among various other federal research facilities and websites. It sucks for people traveling to DC for the archives – though for European researchers, they now know what it feels like to be in a foreign country with limited time and budget and all of a sudden the mass transit workers/government employees go on strike. Or like trying to buy a bunch of microfilm and being told non. Just sayin’.

Inside Higher Ed story.

Do you need another reminder to download every source while it’s still available to you? I hope not.

But downloading everything and categorizing it takes time that you don’t always have. To give an example of how lazy I’ve become, I am increasingly taking screenshots of search results in Google Books or ECCO: one-off searches that aren’t of critical importance, but might be more useful in the future. So I download a PDF of the work and just drag them both into DTPO. Makes me feel kind of dirty and it doesn’t take advantage of full text, but at least DT allows me to keep the info together. For example:

Screenshot in DTPO

Screenshot in DTPO

Conferences, conferences…

Deadline for proposals for the Society for Military History’s annual conference (next April) is coming up at the end of the month.

Personally, I won’t be doing the conference circuit this year, instead trying to get more of my book written. (Yeah, right. I mean, Yeah, write.)

But clearly someone reads the blog, if I may quote from the call for papers (CFP):

“The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. It is also the 150th anniversary of the third year of the American Civil War, 200th anniversary of seminal events in the Napoleonic Wars and War of 1812, and 300th anniversary of the end of the War of the Spanish Succession.”

I like how they finessed the anniversary of “seminal events”, although I’m hoping reeling off a list of anniversaries won’t become the standard from now on. And seminal events? They’re a dime-a-dozen. It made sense for a conference theme of memory and commemoration, but it could get old real quick I think.

But then maybe the SMH has painted itself into a corner – how can you not mention the end of the Napoleonic wars in next year’s CFP? Maybe we can take 2016 off? We’ll know the SMH is really pandering to the early modernists if they invite us to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Peace of Noyon ending the War of the League of Cambrai!

Rediscovering the older past through the younger past

Great essay at the Chronicle of Higher Ed on Google Books’ rediscovery of the long 19C.

High notes for EMEMHians like myself include:

Good stuff. And free.

18thConnect

There’s a good discussion on criteria used to measure battle success in the previous post. Feel free to join in.

EMOB just put up a post reminding its readers of 18thConnect. Tying in to our previous discussions about digital databases such as EEBO and ECCO, 18thConnect is an aggregator, i.e. it allows full-text searchability of these databases without the requirement of an institutional subscription. It also searches the ESTC, which is a very useful tool. Since it’s only an aggregator, though, to actually view the documents returned by the 18thConnect searches requires any requisite subscription(s), with a few exceptions. So I guess its real utility lies in discovery and simplifying searches over multiple databases. In the future they hope to develop an improved OCR that will make ECCO texts even more accurately searched.

I’d also note the irony (is it really ironic? – help me Alanis Morisette!) that the printed edition of the Mandell article mentioned in the above post accidentally cut off the last several paragraphs, whereas the digital version includes the entire essay (and could have been quickly fixed even if the last few paragraphs had been omitted from the original digital document).

EMOB OMD KMFDM OMG!

Early Modern Online Bibliography has had a few recent posts discussing new avenues in Digital Humanities. Things like annotating old maps and textual analysis. Check it out.

Keep digitizing those sources! Therein lies the bottleneck.

Don’t believe everything you see in the movies

For those of you who might still be confused about how logistics worked, Hollywood is not the place to find the answers. But then again, is it ever?

From Woody Allen’s Bananas!