Those historians – they get described as all curmudgeonly and books yay and it’s better if you can touch the paper journals but seriously, they are technological pragmatists. If it works they’ll use it. Today’s example is on LibraryThing.
There’s a whole field of inquiry in history that focuses on the book collections/ libraries of the colonial and early national periods – with the best-known subject of this field of study being Thomas Jefferson, of course. And it is really fascinating – the things he (or others) chose to collect say a lot about him, about knowledge at that time, and about a lot of other aspects of the world at that time.
So – why not put those collections on LibraryThing. Jefferson is there (though all of his collections aren’t yet – dude initially collected the Library of Congress after all). But so is John Adams there and Benjamin Franklin. But the project is open to include any American living before 1825. Check out Mary Hartford, who I didn’t know about before but who is clearly a fascinating subject.
I love examples like this where the tool is cool, the subject is cool and the connection between them is uber-cool. And where there is room for many, many institutions, archivists and librarians to participate.