“As ECCO is upgraded to a new platform with enhanced features, what is its value today in what is a changed digital world?
Eighteenth Century Collections Online can be seen as a library of eighteenth-century life. It is an extraordinary resource for all manner of research topics. Not only does ECCO provide the facsimile texts of well-known, less well-known, and the unheard-of for centuries, but it enables researchers and students to search through its entire corpus….”
“Almost 1000 cultural heritage institutions around the world1 have published some or all of their online collections for free reuse, modification and sharing. They are part of the ‘Open GLAM’ (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) movement that views liberal access2 and reuse (where culturally appropriate3) of digital collections as fundamental to education, research and public engagement.
A key principle of Open GLAM is that works in the public domain – in which copyright has expired or never existed – should remain in the public domain once digitized. However, many museums do assert copyright in digital reproductions of public domain artworks. How legally legitimate is this? Although the answer is not straightforward (the relevant copyright law is complex and lacks international harmonization), in the European Union the standard of originality for a new copyright requires that the work be the ‘author’s own intellectual creation’….”
“In The New Enlightenment and the Fight to Free Knowledge, MIT Open Learning’s Peter B. Kaufman describes the powerful forces that have purposely crippled our efforts to share knowledge widely and freely.
Popes and their inquisitors, emperors and their hangmen, commissars and their secret police – throughout history, all have sought to stanch the free flow of information. Kaufman writes of times when the Bible could not be translated – you’d be burned for trying; when dictionaries and encyclopedias were forbidden; when literature and science and history books were trashed and pulped – sometimes along with their authors; and when efforts to develop public television and radio networks were quashed by private industry.
In the 21st century, the enemies of free thought have taken on new and different guises – giant corporate behemoths, sprawling national security agencies, gutted regulatory commissions. Bereft of any real moral compass or sense of social responsibility, their work to surveil and control us are no less nefarious than their 16th- and 18th- and 20th- century predecessors’. They are all part of what Kaufman calls the Monsterverse….”
“When historians seek to research what Dutch citizens did during Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Netherlands, they have access to a stack of files that’s taller than the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Twenty years ago, those files of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction” were deposited at the Dutch National Archives in The Hague. Suddenly, 300,000 case files on Dutch citizens suspected of having collaborated with Nazis were made available to everyone….
The climate in the Netherlands differs sharply from an allegedly “research-muzzling” atmosphere in Poland. On February 9, a district court ordered prominent Holocaust historians Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking to apologize to a woman who claimed the scholars slandered her deceased uncle….
In Poland, research into the Holocaust has become a lightning rod since the Law and Justice party was elected in 2015. Simultaneously, the digitization of the Netherlands’ “special jurisdiction” archive has helped researchers piece together a diverse mosaic of Dutch citizens’ wartime behavior….
Poland has its own version of the “Central Archive of Special Jurisdiction.” In 1989, files from the communist-era security services became available to the public, including those related to Nazi collaborators….
According to Grabowski, Poland’s “History Laws” are intended to “defend the good name of the Polish nation.” Any claims that Poland bore responsibility for the Holocaust are now criminalized, despite the historian’s documentation that 200,000 Jews were murdered by their Polish neighbors….”
“Due to pandemic restrictions, survivors and educational groups couldn’t visit the sites of Nazi atrocities as they have in years past. But a new digital resource from the Wiener Holocaust Library in London offered an alternative for those hoping to honor the genocide’s victims while maintaining social distancing. As the library announced earlier this month, hundreds of its survivor testimonies are now available online—and in English—for the first time.
The archive, titled Testifying to the Truth: Eyewitness to the Holocaust, currently includes 380 accounts. The rest of the 1,185 testimonies will go online later this year. …”
From Google’s English: “MIRABILE is a knowledge management system for the study and research on medieval culture promoted by the International Society for the Study of the Latin Middle Ages and the Ezio Franceschini Foundation of Florence, in collaboration with other bodies …”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about rapid innovations in distance learning and the wide adoption of digital tools. For many educators, however, having the capability to teach virtually is not the same as having digital-ready content.
“When the pandemic began, there was the realization that everyone was going to be on Zoom, but you shouldn’t teach online the same way you teach in person,” said Merle Eisenberg, a recent postgraduate research associate in history, who graduated from Princeton with a Ph.D. in 2018 and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland.
To make these lessons come alive for students, Eisenberg, together with medieval scholars Sara McDougall, an associate professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New York Graduate Center, and Laura Morreale, chair of the digital humanities and multimedia committee of the Medieval Academy of America, decided to develop materials that high school and college educators could use in a virtual setting.
The resources they created became so popular so quickly that they needed a permanent home for them and greater technical support to meet the demand. The result is a new website, Middle Ages for Educators (MAFE), featuring short video lectures by world-renowned experts, translated primary sources, workshops on how to use digital tools to study the medieval past, and curated links to websites with medieval content….”
From Google’s English: “Open Access (OA) is no longer just a topic in the field of journal publication. In the field of historical studies, there are almost no open access publications in Germany for monographs. The publication activity in the field of national history represents an important sub-area. Here things look very bad in terms of OA.
Using the websites of the historical commissions, regional archives, traditional regional historical associations, regional historical institutes, etc., I compiled the monographs published in 2019 or 2020 and at the same time looked for open access offers (for monographs). Only in exceptional cases have I researched the KVK or library catalogs. Corrections and additions are always welcome. A number of gaps are to be expected, especially since in many cases it was tedious to research the publications….”
“The Library of Congress has completed a more than two decade-long initiative to digitize the papers of nearly two dozen early presidents. The Library holds the papers of 23 presidents from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, all of which have been digitized and are now available online.
The Library plans to highlight each presidential collection on social media in the weeks leading up to the next presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021….
With the digitization of papers from Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Grover Cleveland and Coolidge, the Library’s complete set of presidential collections is now available online for the first time….”
“Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade, a newly launched digital database featuring 613,458 entries (and counting), seeks to streamline the research process by placing dozens of complex datasets in conservation with each other. If, for instance, a user searches for a woman whose transport to the Americas is documented in one database but whose later life is recorded in another, the portal can connect these details and synthesize them….”