First Roadblock Scraping PDFs from ProQuest Historical Newspapers 3

Part of my dissertation research involves getting a giant corpus of newspaper articles from ProQuest Historical Newspapers. I need the editorial pages and A section from the Washington Post from 1946-1989 and from the Los Angeles Times from 1963-1989. I also need all of Paul Conrad's editorial cartoons from the LA Times for the same years since he was notorious for giving away originals and his archives don't have his complete body of work (unlike Herblock who never gave away an original in his life Read More

Jumping Back In: On taking a break and the fear of dissertating 0

So I haven't blogged in over a year mainly because I not only didn't have the time but also because I didn't have much new to say and both are because of the same reason: small child. In December of 2013 I gave birth to my beautiful Little Miss. I had just advanced to candidacy the summer before and had worked a bit on my dissertation during the Fall term while a Swann Foundation Fellow at the Library of Congress. But the trek to DC was difficult and uncomfortable while 7/8 months pregnant and Read More

Mommy, Where Do Data Sets Come From? 0

One of the big selling points of my dissertation is scale. Other historians and academics have looked at nuclear culture during the Cold War but have focused on discrete time periods, particular media, or certain manifestations of nuclear fear and anxiety. While my project is still only focusing on one particular form of media (in this case newspapers and their editorial cartoons) I am looking at all discourses on nuclear fear and anxiety during the full duration of the Cold War. I plan on accomplishing Read More

When Analog is Sometimes Better & You Can’t Always Trust Search Results 0

Last month I took a research trip to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. It was my first "big" research trip. I was there for two weeks to look at a collection that comprised of over 200 boxes. I knew I couldn't get through it all so I prioritized ahead of time what boxes I HAD to get through and what boxes I would LIKE to get through and what boxes could wait until the next trip. I researched the Huntington's rules and regulations and brought all the appropriate tools with me on my trip and Read More

Digital Dissertation Plan of Action! 0

One of the hurdles to jump over at George Mason University before advancing to candidacy is the Presenting of the Prospectus. This document consists of a basic primer to Your Project. This includes such relevant information as the Research Questions, Methodology, and Sources. And less relevant information like a (let's face it, at this point fictional) Chapter Breakdown, and Timeline to Completion. Producing this document can be stressful since all the members of your committee have to approve it Read More

Be Bold!…What to do When Your Prof Blows up Your Prospectus 0

The short answer is, of course, rewrite it. Yet, in my case, the situation posses some interesting questions and issues for the aspiring digital historian. My advisor is a wonderful, smart, intelligent woman who is supportive of my work and ideas. But she is not a digital historian. This is not a bad thing. It is just a fact. But, because I am heavily using digital methodologies in my work, my third committee member is methodologically in tune with my work, but topically as different from me as Read More

Omeka for the Programming Historian 1

If you are like me and your research involves a lot of primary sources that have not already been gathered into a database, Omeka brought to you from the kind people at George Mason’s Center for History and New Media might seem like a viable option. As it states on their website, “Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.” But before you begin to use Omeka to house your database Read More

What do you look for in an advanced search? 0

As I've been going through and entering my cartoons into my database I've been thinking about how I eventually want to interact with it but more importantly, I've been thinking about how a user would want to interact with it. A major goal of this work is that I want to make my database available to the public. The reason I'm building this is because it doesn't exist anywhere else and it seems silly to me to keep it to myself, and while I can access the back end and interact with it via PHPmyAdmin, Read More

Research in the Digital Age, or, Am I Really Going to Write my Dissertation on my iPad? 1

While I know that there are a plethora of blog posts out there about research taking workflows I find them incredibly helpful and have picked up a few tips and tricks from them in the past. So I thought I would pay if forward, so to speak, and add my voice to the din on the off chance that like me with other posts, someone will read this and go, "that's exactly what I need!" I'm probably part of the last generation to grow up being taught the index card method of research taking while in school. Read More

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it 0

I don't have too much to report this week. My work at the CHNM took a bit of precidence over Clio as we just launched our new issue of the Journal of Digital Humanities today and my job is to create the iBook. This is a pretty involved process but it's really fun. It was also a nice break from coding as it's very visual and design orientated so it gave the other side of my brain a chance to play a bit. But I did manage to get quite a bit done on my form before I had to switch gears and brains. I Read More