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HIST104: Historical Methodology - The Art and Craft of the Historian

Unit 7: Electronic Research Tools   In recent years, the Internet has become a powerful tool for historical research.  In addition to hosting online catalogues for physical libraries and archives, the Internet also offers virtual libraries and archives.  These repositories contain diverse historical resources, including digital books, journal articles, and primary-source document collections.  Unfortunately, the Internet also contains inaccurate and misleading collections of historical data.  Identifying and locating reputable sources of historical information on the Internet can be challenging, but this skill will become increasingly necessary for contemporary historical researchers as more and more information becomes available online.  In this unit, we will evaluate online research practices and discuss important Internet-based tools that can help researchers locate reputable secondary and primary sources.  We will also examine contemporary trends in online history research and discuss new approaches that scholars are using to find and evaluate historical data across the Internet.  

Unit 7 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 7.3: 2 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Identify and define the pros and cons of the Internet as a historical source.

7.1 The Power of the Internet   7.1.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Internet-based Research   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's “Research: Internet vs. Library” Link: The Saylor Foundation's “Research: Internet vs. Library” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this article, which explores the pros and cons of using the Internet and a library for research.

7.1.2 Important Considerations When Conducting Research Online   - Reading: VirtualSalt: Professor Robert Harris’s “Evaluating Internet Research Sources” Link: VirtualSalt: Professor Robert Harris’s “Evaluating Internet Research Sources” (PDF)

 Also available in:   

[EPUB](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/HIST104-7.1.2-VirtualSalt-Robert-Harris.epub)  
    
 Instructions: Read the article on the webpage.  
    
 On this webpage, Professor Robert Harris provides a detailed
checklist for evaluating the creditability, accuracy, and
reasonableness of Internet sources when conducting research.  Harris
discusses the importance of conducting this test on websites before
using any of the information for research projects.  
    
 Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission
for noncommercial use by Robert Harris.  It can be viewed in its
original form [here](http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm).
 Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the
webpage above.
  • Reading: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial: “Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask” Link: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial:Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
     
    This article provides information on how to scan a webpage for useful information, as well as tips on evaluating the credibility of a webpage.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

7.2 Online Tools for History Research   7.2.1 Search Strategies   - Reading: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial: “Recommended Search Strategies: Analyze Your Topic & Search with Peripheral Vision” Link: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial: “Recommended Search Strategies: Analyze Your Topic & Search with Peripheral Vision” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
 
This webpage provides a suggested strategy for searching your research topic on the Internet.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.2 Search Engines   - Reading: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial: “Recommended Search Engines” Link: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial: “Recommended Search Engines” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
 
This webpage compares the features of three relevant search engines, and it discusses how search engines function.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

7.2.3 Subject Directories   - Reading: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial: “Recommended Subject Directories” Link: The University of California Berkeley Library’s Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial:Recommended Subject Directories” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
 
This webpage compares the features of several relevant subject directories, and it explicitly outlines how to find subject-focused directories.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

7.2.4 Full-Text Books and Journal Articles Online   - Reading: The University of Texas-Pan American Library: “Electronic Books, Papers, Documents, and Texts” Link: The University of Texas-Pan American Library: “Electronic Books, Papers, Documents, and Texts (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.5 Primary-Source Documents Online   - Reading: American Library Association’s “Reference and Use Services Association”: The Institution and Research Services Committee’s “Using Primary Sources on the Web” Link: American Library Association’s “Reference and Use Services Association”: The Institution and Research Services Committee’s “Using Primary Sources on the Web” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Review the information on the webpage.
 
This web page maintained by the American Library Association offers some helpful guidelines for locating primary sources on the Internet.  It also provides some guidelines for evaluating the credibility and quality of primary source websites
 
Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with permission by The American Library Association.  This document may be reprinted and distributed for non-commercial and educational purposes only, and not for resale.  It can be viewed in its original form here.

7.3 New Trends in Online Research and Writing   7.3.1 Online Research and Writing Tools   - Reading: The George Mason University Center for History and New Media: “Research + Tools” Link: The George Mason University Center for History and New Media: “Research + Tools” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Review the information and links on the webpage.
 
Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  It is attributed to the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and can be viewed in its original form here

7.3.2 Trend Tracker   - Reading: Professor Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities Blog Link: Professor Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities Blog (HTML)
 
Instructions: Review the information in this blog to gain awareness of current trends in digital history. 
 
Professor Dan Cohen serves as Director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.  He is very familiar with new online research and writing technologies and regularly features them on his website.
 
Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.  It is attributed to Dan Cohen and can be viewed in its original form here

End of Unit Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 7 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 7 Quiz” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Complete the linked quiz above.  When you are done, check your work against The Saylor Foundation’s “HIST104: Unit 7 Quiz Answer Key.” (PDF)