What We’re Reading: August 11, 2011 Edition
In the news this week, discussion continues on proposed changes for human-subject research, Rosa Parks’s archive is up for sale, and the Squeeze Imaging Project goes online. Then, read one historian’s concerns about “culturomics” (a project that analyzes text in the Google Books project), discover 5 reasons to love libraries, and learn about 600 New Yorkers’ experiences in the 9/11 Oral History Project. Finally, check out EDSITEment’s Back-to-School Reading Index and an infographic that tracks U.S. post office expansion from 1700 to 1900.
- Continued Discussion on Possible Changes for IRBs
Both the Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal recently looked into the proposed changes for the rules for human-subject research, and referenced our Robert B. Townsend’s blog post from last week.
- Rosa Parks’s Archive and Some Controversies Around It…
An archive of Rosa Parks’s artifacts, correspondence, and personal items (driver’s license, eye glasses, hat she was wearing on December 1, 1955) is up for sale due to a legal battle between Parks’s relatives and the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development.
- Digitization Project Brings Ancient Inscriptions into 21st Century
The Atlantic profiles the Freer and Sackler Galleries’ new Squeeze Imaging Project, a 3-D digital resource that showcases ancient “squeezes,” which are pressed-paper inscriptions, or, in other words, raised 3-D writing.
- Analyzing Culture with Google Books: Is It Social Science?
Historian Anita Guerrini examines the recent “culturomics” project (initially unveiled in a Science article and discussed at the last AHA annual meeting) that analyzes the 500 billion digitized words in Google Books, and expresses the need for caution, explaining, “I think culturomics is a nifty tool, but we need to be cautious and critical about this kind of digital data and about claims that culturomics could make ‘much of what [historians] do trivially easy.’”
- Preserving the Library in the Digital Age
Historian Benjamin Carp gives five reasons why he loves libraries and why he hopes they will “remain intact for the foreseeable future”: seeing rare texts in person (and how they fit in a collection), the serendipity of browsing the stacks, knowledgeable librarians, atmosphere, and promoting literacy and free access.
- New York’s 9/11: An Oral Archive Takes Shape
The 9/11 Oral History Project, from the Columbia Center for Oral History, has documented over 600 New Yorkers’ experiences in 900 hours of audio and video and 22,000 pages of transcripts. Now, 19 of those stories are featured in an upcoming book.
- Back-to-School Reading Index
EDSITEment has put together a Back-to-School Reading Index, featuring U.S. History and Government: From Magna Carta to the First Great Awakening; Literature and Language: From Beowulf to Things Fall Apart; World History and Culture: Cave Art to Marco Polo; and more.
- Visualizing U.S. Expansion through Post Offices
Using data from the U.S. Post Office, Derek Watkins has mapped the western expansion of post offices (and the population in general) from 1700 to 1900.
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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