AHA Today

What We’re Reading: June 16, 2011 Edition

AHA Staff | Jun 16, 2011

Ask An ArchivistThis week we note the bad news that no new Teaching American History Grants will be awarded in 2011, and the good news that the NHPRC has recommended $3.9 million in documentary editing and archival project grants. Also in the news, the Pentagon Papers are now available to researchers, the Legal Times blog provides updates on the efforts to release Nixon’s grand jury testimony, the Hathi Trust reports almost nine million volumes digitized, and a recent conference connects data with the humanities. A number of articles this month offer unique perspectives: first,Ed Ayers discusses the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog looks at the pros and cons of crowdsourcing, Rachael Cristine Woody describes a day in the life of an archivist, and six students explain why they value their humanities degrees. Finally, just for fun, check out a Civil War playlist featuring modern songs that reference back to the war. If some of these articles seem familiar, you may have seen them earlier in the week on our Facebook wall and Twitter feed. We invite you to “like” or follow us, today!


  • No New Teaching American History Grants in FY 2011
    Lee White at the National Coalition for History reports that the “Department of Education has announced no new Teaching American History (TAH) Grants will be made in fiscal year (FY) 2011. All $46 million in available funds were awarded to existing TAH program grantees.”
  • Documentary Editing and Archival Projects
    The National Historical Publications and Records Commission has recommended $3.9 million in grants for projects in documentary editing and archiving in 45 states.
  • Pentagon Papers Available
    The National Archives announced last week that beginning June 13, 2011, the Pentagon Papers will be available to researchers at the John F. Kennedy Library, Lyndon Johnson Library, Richard Nixon Library, and National Archives at College Park.
  • Nixon Testimony
    The Legal Times blog reports a “positive sign” in efforts (by the AHA among other plaintiffs) to open up the grand jury testimony of former president Richard M. Nixon.
  • Digitization
    The Hathi Trust reports almost nine million volumes digitized, of which 2.4 million are in the public domain.

  • Digging into Data
    Jennifer Howard reports from Day 1 and Day 2 at the NEH’s Digging Into Data Challenge Conference, looking at “cutting-edge work with big data in history, linguistics, literature, and other fields.”

Civil War playlistInsights

  • Civil War Sesquicentennial
    The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on Ed Ayers’ efforts to encourage a productive public conversation about the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
  • Crowdsourcing
    The Wired Campus blog at the Chronicle investigates the pros and cons of the use of crowdsourcing (using the masses on the internet to accomplish tasks) in the Civil War Diaries Transcription Project, which we profiled last week.
  • What It Takes to Be an Archivist
    Rachael Cristine Woody, an archivist in the Freer|Sackler Archives, explains how she got involved in her field and what a normal day for her is like. Then, she thoughtfully details what educational and experience requirements you need to become a Librarian, Archivist, Museum Specialist, Research Historian, Appraiser, Dealer, Collections Handler/Manager, Curator, Conservator, Archaeologist, or Anthropologist.
  • Students Discuss Value of the Humanities
    In the Chronicle last week six students in the Humanities (majoring in history, philosophy, English, and comparative literature) argue the significance and value of their degrees.


  • A Civil War Playlist
    Author Louis Masur compiles a playlist of 18 modern songs that reference the Civil War, including “Yankee Bayonet” by The Decemberists, “Rebel Waltz” by The Clash, “Decatur” by Sufjan Stevens, and more.

Contributors: Debbie Ann Doyle, Elisabeth Grant, Jim Grossman, Chris Hale, and Robert B. Townsend

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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