I’m back!

It is very much to my embarassment that this is the first post in over three months. Yes, I am well aware that the web is full of blogs the principal content of which are posts lamenting ‘I really must write here more often…’, but allow me to explain. For me, the purpose of the blog has always been to encourage and improve work, not to create it. It’s a place to share ideas and spark creativity. Over the last few months, I’ve often found myself either doing the sort of administrative work that doesn’t need to be shared with anybody, or writing to deadlines in a way that precludes discussion. I’ve also been fortunate enough to spend some time abroad – including a trip to Australia, of which you can read an account here and here. And this alerted me to the fact that quite a few people read trenchfever. Strangely, far from encouraging me to write more, this blocked me for two reasons. First, I felt a responsibility to produce quality. Second, I became conscious as I went over deadlines that the blog is also a measure of my activity. What would those editors to whom I owed chapters think of my excuses if they could see perfectly well that I was producing the goods here?

Anyway, the chapters are finished, the term is done, and I’m about to start a year’s sabbatical in which I’m concentrating on my Second World War book. So the blog should resume its role as thoughtpad and discussion site.

There are a couple of things I want to talk about over the next few days, including publishers using the ‘net, my experience of doing a podcast for Timewatch and my plans for next year, but for now, some sites to share on the web.

My Queen Mary colleagues put their Borromei Bank research project on the web. It’s a remarkable medieval history resource – an entire set of banking records allowing the reconstruction of a trans-European economy – and exactly what the net was meant for. Here’s the explanation of why it matters so much. Here are the records themselves.

James Holland’s research site and blog detailing his work on the Second World War. An example of an independent historian using the web to create his own archive.

The Imperial War Museum’s brief online exhibition of its work recording memories of Greenham Common, which might be quite a useful resource for post 45 British history.

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4 Responses to I’m back!

  1. Brett Holman says:

    Welcome back! I was starting to worry that you’d been eaten by a drop bear while down here.

  2. Alan Allport says:

    What’s the WWII book about?

  3. Chris Williams says:

    And that, Dan, is why I don’t have my own blog. Generally I owe some work to someone, and I don’t want them to be able to check out my blog and think: “He can write about some irrelevant research seminar he’s just been to, but can he review that book he’s had for months? No.”

    By the way, on Jan 6th, TWFTR will be on the Bengal Famine.

    By the way #2, Dan you need to read this:
    Wineberg, et al ‘Common Belief and the Cultural Curriculum: An Intergenerational Study of Historical Consciousness’ in American Educational Research Journal, March 2007, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 40–76

    http://www.aera.net/uploadedFiles/Publications/Journals/American_Educational_Research_Journal/4401/AERJ_44-1_40-76.pdf

  4. trenchfever says:

    In reverse order.
    Chris – you’ve sent me that article already, ta. It’s interesting, but isn’t it a bit methodologically dodgy (a point made by my PhD student Victoria). I’ll tune in on 6th Jan.

    Alan – all of Britain in WW2. The idea is The People’s War plus all the good research that’s happened since, plus some more military stuff. Yes, I’m insane, but if I don’t do it now, I never will. More on this at a later date I think.

    Brett – dangerous those drop bears, but I avoided them and the cassoaries (sp?). I did get bitten by a leach though – surprisingly unpainful and less irritating than I’d thought.

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