What We’re Reading: July 14, 2011 Edition
This week we start off with a look at the new Alt-Academy careers website, Android apps for academics, and an oral history tool. Then, from the news, an attempted historical document theft, possible cuts in the Census budget, and a rethinking of Robert F. Kennedy’s papers in the JFK Library. We also link to articles on the role of community colleges in humanities teaching, further thoughts on Google’s failed newspaper digitization project, and the movement (or lack thereof) of senior faculty. Then we turn to good old-fashioned books, with thoughts on how technology is changing their form, what scholars can learn from novelists, a small furor over a book review in the AHR, and some dismal new numbers on printed book sales. Finally, just for fun, read about the history of the hot dog and the pizza box.
- “Alt-Academy” Careers
Anyone interested in taking their PhD into “alternative academic” careers will find aid and comfort in the “Alt-academy” careers website. Also, if you missed it, check out our post yesterday on “Finding History Jobs Outside of Academia.”
- Android for Academics
Take a look at the new site Android for Academics, and the four free apps it currently offers for grading and attendance, in this article from the Chronicle.
- Oral History Tool
The Chronicle looks into an oral history tool called OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchonizer), which is still in development, but is meant “for indexing audio and video recordings, making it easy for researchers to call up precise words without having to listen to endless hours of tape.”
- Attempted Theft of Historical Documents
Historical writer and social high flier Barry H. Landau sits in central booking after an alleged theft of documents from the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore.
- Budget Cuts Could End Some Census Surveys
The Washington Post reports on proposals for deep cuts to the Census Bureau budget that could severely curtail the information collected for future historians.
- Family of Robert F. Kennedy Rethinks His Place at Library
Archivists are preparing 63 boxes of Robert F. Kennedy’s papers, but whether or not they will be housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is still uncertain.
- Community Colleges and the Humanities
Rob Jenkins offers an excellent take on the role of community colleges in the larger ecology of humanities teaching (and employment) in higher ed.
- Google Fail: Digitizing Newspapers
Historian Richard Salvucci charges “Google Disrespected Mexican History” in its newspaper digitization project a few years ago, and warns that “what Google giveth, Google taketh away. Without notice. Without warning. And without explanation.”
- Faculty Immobility in the New Economy
Noting that “senior-faculty movement has dropped along with every other figure in today’s employment market,” Leonard Cassuto at the Chronicle of Higher Education ponders what the end of the academic star system might mean for the rest of academia.
- How the IT Revolution is Changing Books
Robert McCrum in the Observer argues that “there’s hardly a mainstream genre (fiction, history, children’s books, poetry) that’s not undergoing significant change, attributable to the liberation of the new technology,” and urges readers, writers, and publishers to consider the “potentially positive aspects of this historic paradigm shift.”
- Scholar vs. Novelist
Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost and winner of the AHA’s Roosevelt-Wilson Prize, discusses “what scholars can learn from novelists—and journalists—about storytelling.” See also part 2 of this talk and the video version.
- Leon Trotsky Biography
Scott McLemee notices a review of a recent biography of Leon Trotsky in the latest issue of the American Historical Review and predicts that it “will earn a place in the annals of the scholarly take-down.”
- 10% Drop in Print Book Sales
Publishers Weekly reports more bad news for the printed book industry—a 10 percent decline in sales in just the first six months of the year.
- History of the Hot Dog
NPR looks into the history, and the myths, of the origins of the hot dog.
- History of the Pizza Box
From copper containers to the current day cardboard carrier, learn about the history of the pizza box at the Serious Eats: Slice blog.
Contributors: Elisabeth Grant, Jim Grossman, Vernon Horn, and Robert B. Townsend
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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