Harvard University Davis Center: Google Needs Historians. (Still.)

Harvard University Davis Center: Google Needs Historians. (Still.). “Gazetteers (databases that associate placenames with location information) like GeoNames and Google Maps are extraordinarily good at recognizing historical places by their contemporary names. They cope remarkably well with alphabets, alternate transliterations and the occasional misspelling…. They are able to do this not because machines are brilliant, but because they have been fed incredible amounts of data by (occasionally brilliant) human beings. What they can’t do, on the fly, yet, is conduct historical research.” A deep and interesting dive.

The Hill: How VR is bringing Black history to life for middle schoolers across America

The Hill: How VR is bringing Black history to life for middle schoolers across America. “It’s a lot easier to bring down a statue than it is to put one up. But the Movers and Shakers of NYC found a way to cut through some of the red tape using a piece of technology most Americans have in their pockets. Using augmented reality, a new app allows students, teachers and the general public to learn Black history and pay tribute to the people who are often left out of textbooks. In addition to a catalog of monuments to women, people of color and the LGBT community, the Kinfolk app contains a digital archive of Black, Indigenous and Latin history.”

CBC: This N.S. historian spent years researching the Spanish flu. Now she’s living in a pandemic

CBC: This N.S. historian spent years researching the Spanish flu. Now she’s living in a pandemic. “When historian Ruth Holmes Whitehead started research in 2017 for a book looking at the Spanish flu outbreak in Nova Scotia a century prior, she had no idea she’d end up living in a pandemic. ‘It’s awful because you sort of automatically have this [bad] feeling … how this is going to turn out,’ said the author of Nova Scotia and the Great Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1920, which was published last November.”

Mashable: 10 photo archive websites that let you lose yourself in history

Mashable: 10 photo archive websites that let you lose yourself in history. “Thousands of dedicated historians, photography enthusiasts, and archivists across the globe have spent years digitizing antique and vintage imagery to make it available for everyone to view online. Whether you’re interested in a specific area or era of the past or just feeling nostalgic for different times, browsing these collections is absolutely fascinating. From missions to the moon to quirky 1930s studio portraits via vintage Vogue photoshoots, we’re sure you’ll find something brilliant to browse in these amazing photo archive websites.”

Princeton University: Middle Ages for Educators website brings Princeton scholarship to an international audience

Princeton University: Middle Ages for Educators website brings Princeton scholarship to an international audience. “Princeton’s Program in Medieval Studies and the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity have launched a new website, Middle Ages for Educators, aimed at high school and college students and educators worldwide and, more broadly, at anyone interested in studying or teaching Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.”

ABC News (Australia): Australian historians are building a 2020 time capsule — this is what’s in it

ABC News (Australia): Australian historians are building a 2020 time capsule — this is what’s in it. “When a koala which had been hanging on the Brooklyn Bridge arrived in a FedEx box for Libby Stewart in Canberra, she refused to touch it. The then-senior curator at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) had arranged for the plush toy, which had been left on the New York City icon, to be sent Down Under. A tag hanging from its foot read: ‘One billion of the world’s unique wildlife has died in the Australian bushfire.’ Ms Stewart had wanted to acquire the item, ever since the global campaign appeared on Instagram, for the NMA’s bushfire collection but there wasn’t a clear consensus on how long COVID-19 could survive on flat surfaces.”

Washington Post: The Capitol mob desecrated a historical workplace — and left behind some disturbing artifacts

Washington Post: The Capitol mob desecrated a historical workplace — and left behind some disturbing artifacts. “Because of the historic nature of the Capitol riot, the mob not only destroyed historically important artifacts but created them. As cleanup crews tended to the Capitol’s exterior on Thursday, another type of worker was sifting through the mess for salvageable items. Frank Blazich, a curator from the National Museum of American History collected signs and other ephemera from the scene. Among the objects: a sign that read, ‘Off with their heads: Stop the steal.’”

Sapienza University of Rome: Valeteviatores, digitized Latin epigraphs become a historical video game

Sapienza University of Rome, and Google-translated from Italian: Valeteviatores, digitized Latin epigraphs become a historical video game. “The project, coordinated by the University of Navarra, aims to acquire 3D scans of a selection of Latin inscriptions preserved in various Roman cities, from Portugal to Rome, passing through France and Spain, which will then be edited in a historical video game.”

Faculty note: Prof. Nesvet at the Keats Letters’ Project: Keats in Quarantine (University of Wisconsin Green Bay)

University of Wisconsin Green Bay: Faculty note: Prof. Nesvet at the Keats Letters’ Project: Keats in Quarantine. “Last month, UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Rebecca Nesvet (English) and a few other Romanticists from around the world were invited to publish brief creative and critical reactions to the final surviving letter of the Romantic poet John Keats, which he dated November 30, 1820—200 years ago today.”

Scents of history: study hopes to recreate smells of old Europe (The Guardian)

The Guardian: Scents of history: study hopes to recreate smells of old Europe. “From the pungent scent of a cigar to the gentle fragrance of roses, smells can transport us to days gone by. Now researchers are hoping to harness the pongs of the past to do just that. Scientists, historians and experts in artificial intelligence across the UK and Europe have announced they are teaming up for a €2.8m project labelled ‘Odeuropa’ to identify and even recreate the aromas that would have assailed noses between the 16th and early 20th centuries.”

Victoria University of Wellington: Both sides of the coin at University Classics Museum

Victoria University of Wellington: Both sides of the coin at University Classics Museum. Antiquities from the Classics Museum at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington are now available online for students, scholars, and enthusiasts of Classical Greek and Roman culture worldwide…. The collection is a mix of Greek and Roman materials, running from the Bronze Age (3000–1200BC) to the later Roman Period (200-400AD), and is representative of a wider range of different objects and periods.”

For music archivists, a contemporary dilemma: Should racist songs from our past be heard today? (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times: For music archivists, a contemporary dilemma: Should racist songs from our past be heard today? . “It’s a journey that American pop culture creators and curators have repeatedly taken as the Black Lives Matter movement has brought renewed attention to white privilege and called out once-common racists tropes. Much of the focus has been on TV episodes featuring blackface. Creators of ’30 Rock,’ ‘The Golden Girls,’ ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘The Office’ have all removed from circulation offensive episodes. This year thousands of ice cream trucks that for decades churned out ‘Turkey in the Straw’ have been reprogrammed to delete a work whose roots stretch to an 1830s-era song called ‘Zip Coon.’”

New York Times: For 3 Filmmakers, Now Is the Best Time for a Coronavirus Documentary

New York Times: For 3 Filmmakers, Now Is the Best Time for a Coronavirus Documentary. “As the coronavirus raged out of control this spring, Alex Gibney, an Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker who has released two other movies this year, embarked on a secret project: a film that would ‘tell the origin story’ of the pandemic that has cost more than 215,000 Americans their lives. He wanted to know if the carnage could have been prevented.”

TIME: This Isn’t the First Time America Has Voted During a Pandemic. Here’s How the 1918 Flu Affected That Year’s Election

TIME: This Isn’t the First Time America Has Voted During a Pandemic. Here’s How the 1918 Flu Affected That Year’s Election. “As the midterm elections of 1918 approached, World War I was winding down, but a new strain of the flu was surging. It had been spreading earlier in the year, but is believed to have mutated into a more deadly, more contagious strain that fall. Data analyzed by Tom Ewing, a professor of history at Virginia Tech, reveal that death rates in northeastern cities had spiked in late September and mid-October in 1918, and had sharply declined by Election Day on Nov. 5, while West Coast cities were in the throes of ongoing outbreaks.”