Monday, January 14, 2008

The Programming Historian

My colleague Alan MacEachern and I have decided to write a book to teach practicing historians how to use programming to augment their ability to do research online. The Programming Historian will be provided as an open access work via the website of NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment. We'll announce the details soon. In the meantime, here are a few things that will make this work different from existing books about programming...

1. We think that you should be able to put what you learn to work in your research practice immediately. Many beginning programmers lose patience because they can't see why they're learning what they're learning.

2. Digital history requires working with sources on the web. This means that you're going to be spending most of your research time working in a browser, so you should be able to use your programming skills in the browser.

3. Our examples will build on real historical sources online and on open source projects in the digital humanities. In particular, the programs that you create will be tightly integrated with Zotero.

4. We'll draw on a wide range of techniques from information retrieval; text, data and web mining; statistical natural language processing; machine learning; and other disciplines.

If you'd like to contact us with questions or comments, there is contact information on our faculty web pages: Turkel & MacEachern.

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