Class 8: Exploring Digital History


History and other humanities that tended to be narrative are leveraging  data collection and display tools to spawn a new digital / data approach to teaching history and social science. In today’s class we will explore some of these exciting web resources.

Class Session

Peter will offer an introduction to these sites. Students will be encouraged to consider how they could use these tools to support a lesson.

We will begin our first round of student lesson lessons by: Kyle Boone – Imperialism | Olivia Marovich – Women in PRC | Matt Wheatley – Japanese Culture


There is no “creative” assignment for this class. But students should watch this video in preparation for next week’s class.

“Segregated By Design” examines the forgotten history of how our federal, state and local governments unconstitutionally segregated every major metropolitan area in America through law and policy.  

Sample Digital History Tools and Resources

Nation level data sets

  1. GapMinder World – manipulate moving bubble graphs, select x and y axis from a variety of data sets
  2. Rank Country – insightful world maps and country list data visualizations.

Text / Archival tools

  1.  NGram Viewer – online research tool that allows you to quickly analyze the frequency of names, words and phrases -and when they appeared in the Google digitized books. For more advanced searches using NGram Viewer click here.
  2. WordSift was created to help teachers manage the demands of vocabulary and academic language in their text materials. 
  3. Chronicling America – searchable collection of US newspapers from from 1789-1963.

Map-based tools

  1. American Panorama – social justice themed map-based projects.
  2. Metrocosm – All the World’s Immigration Visualized in 1 Map
  3. Two Centuries of U.S. Immigration  – map with graph and date slider

Social justice projects (Sample: American racial history)

  1. Freedom on the Move – database of runaway slave advertisements.
  2. The Forced Migration of Enslaved People – forced movement and narratives of a million enslaved people (1810-1860).
  3. White Supremacy mob violence – interactive / historical map of lynching in US.
  4. Negro Travelers’ Green Book – map based version of the famous travel guide for Black Americans.

Featured image from Foreign Born Population of the United States

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.