Historical Data

Instructor: Brandon Locke blocke@msu.edu
Graduate Assistant: Alyssa Lopez lopezal6@msu.edu
Mon (218B Berkey Hall) & Wed (LEADR – 112 Old Hort) 12:40-2:00

HST 489 – Using Digital Sources and Data in Historical Research will focus on the best practices for collecting and contextualizing historical data, methods for using historical data in research, and advantages and disadvantages to thinking about sources as data. The use of digitized primary sources—such as newspapers, photographs, and government records—has become commonplace for historical research. Students in the class will learn several different techniques for working with these materials, such as mapping, information visualization, text mining, and the filtering of information such as names and places. Students will also come away with a better understanding of storytelling and argumentation with data.

Students in HST 489 will select (or create) a historical dataset, conduct research on the historical topic and the data in question, and curate, describe, and publish the dataset for others to use. At the end of the semester, you’ll produce a well-organized, well-documented dataset and an essay discussing research findings and advancing an argument using historical data.