Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

A Tour of the Virtual Stacks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2019

Extract

Rows upon rows of “virtual stacks” now stretch as far as the eye can see. From JSTOR to the Library of Congress to Ancestry.com, unprecedented quantities of historical material are being added to the digital ether. In fact, you are probably reading these words on a screen right now. Search-box interfaces allow historians to instantly query vast quantities of historical material in order to pull out information about individuals, events, institutions, and locations. With just a few strokes of a keyboard, a historian can sift through millions of digitized pages of newspapers, government documents, or books. A process that would have once taken a lifetime of flipping through microfilm or archival folders can be conducted in just a few minutes. As historian Lara Putnam notes, this now “feels as revolutionary as oatmeal.” But, she argues, the “mass digitized turn” has nevertheless had a profound impact on the practice of history in ways that the discipline is only beginning to understand. This is especially true for a field like modern American history, where an abundance of easily scannable English-language sources has generated a wealth of online material.


Type
Into the Stacks
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Cambridge University Press 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

1 Journals like Law and History Review, Modern Intellectual History, Journal of Sport History, and The Public Historian have all published roundtables, overviews, or special issues about the impact of digital history on their particular subfields. See Dale, Elizabeth, ed., “In This Issue: Digital Law and History,” Law and History Review 34, no. 4 (Nov. 2016): vviCrossRefGoogle Scholar; Edelstein, Dan, “Intellectual History and Digital Humanities,” Modern Intellectual History 13, no. 1 (Apr. 2016): 237–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sterling, Jennifer J., Phillips, Murray G., and McDonald, Mary G., “Doing Sport History in the Digital Present,” Journal of Sport History 44, no. 2 (Summer 2017): 135–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bryans, William et al. , “Imagining the Digital Future of The Public Historian,” The Public Historian 35, no. 1 (Feb. 2013): 827CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Putnam, Lara, “The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast,” The American Historical Review 121, no. 2 (Apr. 2016): 377402CrossRefGoogle Scholar, here 380.

3 Putnam, “The Transnational and the Text-Searchable.” See also Laite, Julia, “The Emmet's Inch: Small History in a Digital Age,” Journal of Social History, doi: 10.1093/jsh/shy118 (accessed Mar. 29, 2019)Google Scholar.

4 James Somers, “Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria,” The Atlantic, Apr. 20, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/04/the-tragedy-of-google-books/523320/ (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

5 Jessica Rohr, “HathiTrust Research Center Extends Non-Consumptive Research Tools to Copyrighted Materials: Expanding Research through Fair Use,” Perspectives from HathiTrust (blog), Sept. 20, 2018, https://www.hathitrust.org/blogs/perspectives-from-hathitrust/hathitrust-research-center-extends-non-consumptive-research-tools (accessed on Mar. 29, 2019).

6 E. Thomas Ewing et al., “An Epidemiology of Information: Data Mining the 1918 Influenza Pandemic,” White Paper (Washington, DC, 2014), https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=HJ-50067-12 (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

7 Moravec, Michelle, “‘Under This Name She Is Fitly Described’: A Digital History of Gender in the History of Woman Suffrage,” Women and Social Movements 19, no. 1 (Mar. 2015)Google Scholar, http://womhist.alexanderstreet.com/moravec-full.html; Michelle Moravec, “Network Analysis and Feminist Artists,” Bulletin 6, no. 3 (Nov. 2017), https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/artlas/vol6/iss3/5; Michelle Moravec, “The Endless Night of Wikipedia's Notable Woman Problem,” Boundary 2, Aug. 1, 2018, https://www.boundary2.org/2018/08/moravec/ (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

8 Micki Kaufman, “‘Everything on Paper Will Be Used Against Me’: Quantifying Kissinger,” https://blog.quantifyingkissinger.com/ (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

9 Underwood, Ted, Bamman, David, and Lee, Sabrina, “The Transformation of Gender in English-Language Fiction,” Journal of Cultural Analytics, Feb. 13, 2018, doi: 10.22148/16.019CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Kraicer, Eve and Piper, Andrew, “Social Characters: The Hierarchy of Gender in Contemporary English-Language Fiction,” Journal of Cultural Analytics, Jan. 30, 2019, doi: 10.22148/16.032CrossRefGoogle Scholar; So, Richard Jean, Long, Hoyt, and Zhu, Yuancheng, “Race, Writing, and Computation: Racial Difference and the US Novel, 1880–2000,” Journal of Cultural Analytics, Jan. 11, 2019, doi: 10.22148/16.031 (accessed Mar. 29, 2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Knowles, Anne Kelly, “GIS and History,” in Placing History: How Maps, Spatial Data, and GIS Are Changing Historical Scholarship, eds. Hillier, Amy and Knowles, Anne Kelly (Redlands, CA, 2008), 127Google Scholar.

11 Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al., “Mapping Inequality,” in American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

12 Sarah Bond, “How Is Digital Mapping Changing The Way We Visualize Racism and Segregation?,” Forbes, Oct. 20, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/drsarahbond/2017/10/20/how-is-digital-mapping-changing-the-way-we-visualize-racism-and-segregation/; Mara Cherkasky, Sarah Jane Schoenfeld, and Brian Kraft, “Mapping Segregation in Washington DC,” Prologue DC, http://www.mappingsegregationdc.org/#about; Monica Martinez, “Mapping Violence,” http://mappingviolence.org/ (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

13 Lingold, Mary Caton, Mueller, Darren, and Trettien, Whitney, eds., Digital Sound Studies (Durham, NC, 2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

14 Bench, Harmony and Elswit, Kate, “Mapping Movement on the Move: Dance Touring and Digital Methods,” Theatre Journal 68, no. 4 (Dec. 2016): 575–96, doi: 10.1353/tj.2016.0107CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 Lauren Tilton, “Towards a Visual Turn in (Digital) History” (Quantitative Analysis and the Digital Turn in Historical Studies, Fields Institute, 2019), http://laurentilton.com/files/visualturnv3.pdf (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

16 Tilton, Lauren and Arnold, Taylor, “Distant Viewing: Analyzing Large Visual Corpora,” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, doi: 10.1093/digitalsh/fqz013 (accessed April 12, 2019)Google Scholar.

17 Noble, Safiya Umoja, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (New York, 2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

18 Fuentes, Marisa J., Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (Philadelphia, 2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Johnson, Jessica Marie, “Markup Bodies: Black [Life] Studies and Slavery [Death] Studies at the Digital Crossroads,” Social Text 36, no. 4 (Dec. 2018): 5779, doi: 10.1215/01642472-7145658CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

19 Os Keyes, Nikki Stevens, and Jacqueline Wernimont, “The Government Is Using the Most Vulnerable People to Test Facial Recognition Software,” Slate Magazine, Mar. 17, 2019, https://slate.com/technology/2019/03/facial-recognition-nist-verification-testing-data-sets-children-immigrants-consent.html (accessed Mar. 29, 2019).

20 Muhammad, Khalil Gibran, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Cambridge, MA, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gross, Kali Nicole, “Policing Black Women's and Black Girls’ Bodies in the Carceral United States,” Souls 20, no. 1 (Jan. 2018): 113CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Hernández, Kelly Lytle, City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ngai, Mae M., Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton, NJ, 2005)Google Scholar. See also the 2015 special issue “Historians and the Carceral State” in the Journal of American History: Hernández, Kelly Lytle, Muhammad, Khalil Gibran, and Thompson, Heather Ann, “Introduction: Constructing the Carceral State,” Journal of American History 102, no. 1 (June 2015): 1824CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

Altmetric attention score


Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 65
Total number of PDF views: 177 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 05th July 2019 - 26th November 2020. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-57c975d4c7-bk9jx Total loading time: 0.824 Render date: 2020-11-26T08:51:55.272Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Thu Nov 26 2020 08:51:17 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": false, "relatedCommentaries": false, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

A Tour of the Virtual Stacks
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

A Tour of the Virtual Stacks
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

A Tour of the Virtual Stacks
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *