Digital Resources | History Working Papers Project & The Hellfire Club

Posted in resources by Editor on April 23, 2012

Following up on yesterday’s postings on the digital humanities, I include two examples of how the web might be used for sharing original, in-progress research, both from Jason M. Kelly. It seems to me that they raise interesting questions related to process, transparency, and audience. As I regularly suggest to my students, I don’t think we yet know what the web is really for; the web experience of the 2020s will surely look quite different from that of 2012. My own expectations have changed substantially since the 90s, when the web seemed pretty terrific because it meant I didn’t have to make space in a small Chicago apartment for a phonebook and Yellow Pages! I would have simply had no way to comprehend the likes of Twitter or Pinterest. In the world of web analytics — a world in which web-users are, above all, consumers — I think there’s probably more at stake with the scholarly potential of the digital realm than we might like to acknowledge, whatever that future might hold. -CH

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History Working Papers Project: Open Peer Review for the Humanities

The creators of the History Working Papers Project are Jason M. Kelly and Tim Hitchcock. HWPP has one goal. To develop an open source platform that allows for continuous revision, review, and evaluation from the earliest draft of an academic conference presentation and article, through publication and beyond. It is designed to bring the process of exposing one’s work at a conference, and revising it for peer review publication, in to the digital age.

HWPP is an online space for scholars to share works-in-progress with their peers. After uploading a conference paper, essay, or article manuscript to the HWPP website, authors can invite others to read their work and make comments in the margins. As more people respond, writers get more feedback. But, unlike traditional comments done on paper, HWPP allows commenters and authors to interact with each other. They can read each other’s marginalia and engage in dialogue about it. In fact, entire threaded discussions can take place in the margins. Here’s what it looks like:

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From the site’s about page:

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

The Hellfire Club, or, more appropriately, the Monks of Medmenham Abbey, was an association that met in Buckinghamshire between the 1740s and the 1760s. Controversy and mystery surrounds the group and has defined the histories written about them. Stories of sex, witchcraft, satanism, and spirits define the popular memory of the club. Misinformation abounds and has led to many misconceptions about the organization and its members. As part of my research on the history of eighteenth-century clubs and societies, I have studied the group and had a chance to access the surviving public and private manuscripts. This site is devoted to exposing the history of Monks of Medmenham Abbey. It will reveal new facts about the group while putting its activities into the context of its age. Using the surviving fragments of their activities, rare books, and even the odd film or television episode, this site tells a centuries-long tale of secret societies, ghost stories, illicit activities, rumor, and gossip.

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