Going Digital Workshop

Introductory remark: Much of this lesson is cribbed from William J. Turkel’s (my postdoctoral supervisor and a leading light in this field) guide to “Going Digital.”

Lesson One: Creating a Top-Notch Research Browser

Step One: Download Firefox

Firefox is a free, open source web browser that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It’s not my favourite browser in the world, but it has the largest library of customizable options. We’ll start out with Firefox, but if you’re really committed to the Chrome or Safari browsers we can find ways for you to move forward.

A list of search extensions
Search Extensions

Step Two: Incorporate Search Extensions. In the upper right corner, you’ll see a search box. For the most part, we usually just use that for Google. But we can add ‘extensions’ to give us direct searches for libraries, the Internet Archive, dictionaries, etc. Let’s add a few.


Internet Archive

Project Gutenberg

MementoFox (will require Firefox restart)

(more are available here)

Step Three: Key Resources (Advanced Searches)

Google Books

Internet Archive

Haithi Trust

Flickr Commons

Wolfram Alpha

Google N-Gram Viewer

Lesson Two: A Citation Management System

  1. Install Zotero

  2. Now that we have it installed, let’s try it out. Do a WORLDCAT search from our new extensions and add the book to your database. Do so by clicking on the little book icon that will appear in your search bar.

  3. Let’s do the same with a journal article. Let’s go into JSTOR, find something, and make sure we add the PDF to our database. You can also download STANDALONE ZOTERO if you want to use Safari or Chrome, and add a custom extension.

  4. Now let’s get it to talk to Word or OpenOffice. We need to install the relevant plugins. In class, I will show you how to use Zotero to make top-notch citations. This is really helpful for undergraduates especially – you’re taking tons of different classes, so you can easily use this for MLA, Chicago, APA, and other forms of citations.

Lesson Three: Some Fun Stuff to do With Digitized Sources

Wordle.net: Word Clouds


Programming Historian

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