Main Link: https://programminghistorian.org/
Originally founded in 2008 by historians William J. Turkel and Alan MacEachern, the Programming Historian is an open-source, peer-reviewed academic website that has thorough tutorials on a wide range of digital tools and techniques that historians can use to make their research and teaching more interactive and immersive. With their 88 published lessons, users can learn how to code with the Python programming language, brush up on their Omeka skills or even learn how to edit audio with Audacity.
The Programming Historian is available in four languages: English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. There are also separate project teams for each language to facilitate and edit submissions, who seek to foster “a diverse and inclusive community of editors, writers, and readers.”
How to Use
After pulling up the website on your browser, you may pick the language you want to learn in. Sadly, I only know one of the languages offered, so I picked the English version (the first option).
You can then choose to go to the lessons homepage, provide feedback, write your own lesson, or learn about the Programming Historian’s team. For this practicum, we will focus on the “Learn” function.
After clicking, you should be redirected to “The Lesson Index,” which is organized by “typical phases of the research process, as well as general topics,” like ‘APIS,’ ‘PYTHON,’ and ‘MAPPING.’ However, if you cannot find the exact lesson you are looking for, you can always use the search engine.
To practice, I searched one of our favorite tools, “Omeka,’ in The Lesson Index and five tutorials appeared. There are many great lessons that range in level of difficulty and skill, including “Installing Omeka” and “Creating an Omeka Exhibit.”
For those doing some last-minute cramming on your final projects, I definitely recommend the Programming Historian to learn how to use your platforms if there are lessons available. For example, the “Installing Omeka” lesson, gives you step by step instructions on how to sign up for an Omeka account, install your server and database, and more.
Additionally, the “Creating an Omeka Exhibit” lesson teaches you the basics on how to map your digital exhibit, as well as add different types of content onto your webpage.
If you want to go hardcore and learn how to code, the two main programming languages they have lessons on are Python and R. Like Omeka, the Programming Historian offers basic and advanced tutorials on each. See below for some examples:
Overall, I think the Programming Historian is an amazing and accessible resource for historians and educators. The Programming Historian’s team truly accomplished their goal of creating a “collaborative, productive, and sustainable” environment for “scholars to learn from one another.”
Other Ways to get Involved
If you are interested in contributing to the website, you can write your own lesson. Unlike traditional historical journals, the editors at Programming Historian do not simply accept or reject tutorials. Instead, they work with the submitter to craft the clearest and most useful lesson as possible.
To learn more about their submission process, click here.
If you are fluent in more than one of their publication languages, you can also help them translate some of their lessons from one language to another.
Lastly, you can always provide feedback or report problems. Click here to contact them.
I hope this practicum helped you learn more about the Programming Historian! Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will do my best to answer them for you. Have a good week and best of luck with finals!
— Rachael Davis