Blogs > Cliopatria > More Noted Things

Sep 11, 2007 11:26 am

More Noted Things

Mills Kelly,"The End of H-Net?" edwired, 10 September, tracks the declining traffic on three of H-Net's most successful listservs, H-World, H-High-S, and H-Africa, and the flattening of traffic on a fourth, H-South, in the last three years. He speculates that history blogs may be displacing H-Net listservs as the preferred means of communication.

Barbara Berman reviews Robert Alter's The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary for the San Francisco Chronicle, 9 September.

Sarah Bakewell,"A Lost Lock Turns the Key to a Meaty Feast of Wit," Independent, 7 September, reviews Sophie Gee's The Scandal of the Season. The first novel of a literary historian turns Alexander Pope's"The Rape of the Lock" back into its sources.

John Carey reviews Virginia Nicholson's Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived without Men after the First World War for the London Times, 9 September. Hat tip.

Adam Kirsch,"Clash of Evils," NYSun, 5 September, reviews Norman Davies's No Simple Victory on the eastern European front in World War II.

Clarence Page,"What the Duke lacrosse case has taught us," Chicago Tribune, 9 September, gives a thumbs up to Stuart Taylor, Jr., and KC Johnson's Until Proven Innocent.

A symposium,"9/11 at Six" is up at Progressive Historians, 11 September.

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Manan Ahmed - 9/11/2007

" Some people might be shy (not you or I, Manan, but some people) about requesting aid in a more open and public venue. "

I think you are right [though shyness is not the only criteria for hesitation]. And I suspect that most listserv subscribers at HNet will be surprised to know that the archives are available online and searchable by person. Here, for example, mine.

The crucial difference is that these are out of google's grasp for now.

David M Fahey - 9/11/2007

A correction:

Alcohol and Drugs History Society (ADHS).

David M Fahey - 9/11/2007

I can't claim to know much about history blogs: there are so many of them, and most of them appear to be semi-private clubs in which a few insiders talk and other people may (or, more likely, don't) listen. For most people, reading a blog is like reading a newspaper columnist on-line. Public interaction is rare and most of the time by the "usual suspects" only. I suspect that for listservs the problems are similar to those for blogs. The editors get burned out, and the "audience" is as likely to be nil as it is to be large. Finally, blogs vary so much that they don't really comprise a distinct genre. For instance, I am an almost daily contributor to what the editor calls a blog (for the Alcohol and Drugs History Association); it has only two people eligible to post! With the help of Google, it has received nearly a half million "hits."

Jonathan Dresner - 9/11/2007

#1 could move to some sort of aggregator blog, but the advantage of the listserv is that it's open to any member to post something. Perhaps an open announcement system like could work, but you'd need, at the very least, some kind of tag/subject-based RSS feeds so that you didn't have to see every CFP/etc. that went out.

#2 could move out into webspace, but I suspect that it might actually reduce the frequency with which people were willing to ask questions. These lists aren't closed, but they are a limited community. Some people might be shy (not you or I, Manan, but some people) about requesting aid in a more open and public venue. Then there's the interest issue: a weblog that consisted primarily of blegs and responses wouldn't have the kind of traffic, I don't think, that the listservs have; the listservs can function as resources because people subscribe to them for multiple reasons. Single-purpose blogs/wikis/etc., wouldn't, I don't think, attract the same groups.

Manan Ahmed - 9/11/2007

There are two specific functions that are still the domain of listservs:

1. Conference Announcements/CFP etc: In all those thousands of history blogs, there is no systematic place for CFPs or Announcements or Speaker lists etc.

2. Reference/Bibliography Questions: There is also no place wherein scholars can ask other scholars about a citation, a clarification, a reference etc. etc. Again, there is no such place that exists yet.

Although, I really want to move #2 out into the webspace.