On today’s episode, we speak with Adam Crymble about his new book, Technology and the Historian, which looks at the history and development of digital history as a discipline in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Adam’s book focuses on the (longer than you might expect) history of using computers to do historical research and the different ways historians have integrated digital methods into their work. We discuss this history, as well as the ways that combining intellectual history with a history of academic practice can help illuminate the development of disciplines.   

Adam Crymble is a Lecturer of Digital Humanities at UCL and a historian of migration and community, with a particular focus on early modern London. He also has a strong interest in global digital humanities and collaborates with scholars working to implement digital humanities strategies for their local contexts. He currently helps lead the Programming Historian, a peer-reviewed and open access source for digital skills tutorials that is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. You can see more of his work on TikTok (yes, TikTok).

@dradamcrymble #history #historytok #historytiktok #learnontiktok #londonHistory #1700s #britishHistory #food #meat ♬ Cooking – Roc Chen

Episode Transcript

Michael Donnay 

One of my favorite party tricks, or least favorite, depending on what kind of mood I’m in, is to tell people that I study digital humanities. At parties, this usually gets me one of two responses: either a polite nod, a sip of someone just drink, and then they depart the conversation, or a very pleasant, very blank stare. And this situation doesn’t just happen to me at cocktail parties. It also happens with graduate students and professors who I talk to about my research. Now, in the academy, at least, people seem to have some sense that digital humanities involves computers. And they might even have a specific project in their mind if they’ve encountered or worked on something before.

But it’s always a lot of unpacking to explain what my program is and what it actually means to be doing digital humanities research. So I usually just say, “Well, it’s like history mixed with some computer science.” Now, while this might technically be true, it obviously leaves out a lot, and in particular, elides a lot of the complex history and nature of the development of digital humanities as a discipline.

Now, I’m really excited about today’s conversation, because I think my guest today does an excellent job of illuminating this history and making it clear what it means to do digital research in the humanities. Specifically focusing on digital history, Adam Crymble’s most recent book is Technology and The Historian. In it, he considers the ways that technology has changed the historical profession in the last few decades. The book looks at a number of elements of historical practice, including research, teaching and scholarly communication. And I think it provides a really nuanced understanding of how this thing we might call “digital history” emerged. Adam is a lecturer of Digital Humanities at UCL and in addition to being a digital humanist, he’s a historian of migration and community with a particular focus on early modern London. He also has a strong interest in global digital humanities, and collaborates with scholars working to implement digital strategies for their local contexts. He currently helps lead The Programming Historian – a peer reviewed and open access source for digital skills tutorials.

I’m excited about today’s conversation for two reasons. First, because I’m really interested in getting a better understanding of the emergence of digital history as a field. In a way, learning about the history of doing digital history. And I’m also really excited to think about how we can benefit from combining intellectual history with a history of scholarly practice. I think that’s something Adam’s book does really well. Which is to think not just about how scholars in the past thought about their research, but also to look at what scholars were actually doing, and how those activities shaped the research and the other work that they were doing. I think this combination can provide a really rich view into the history of academic disciplines, and can let us think in different ways about how things like technology or institutional structures influence the kind of work that historians do. With that, let’s jump into my conversation with Adam.

Adam, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. I’m really glad you’re here and I’m looking forward to chatting with you.

Adam Crymble 

Thank you very much for having me.

Michael Donnay 

Maybe a good place to start would be just doing a couple of definitions. Your book touches on digital history, specifically, but also lives sort of broadly in this digital humanities or humanities computing world. And one of the things that you try to do in the book, and I think do really well, is make us think a little bit more critically about what those terms mean, and how they might describe slightly different areas of activity. For people who aren’t in the digital history or the digital humanities world, they might also not have a sense of how fraught definitions might be in that space. So I was wondering if you could explain a little bit about why the “problem of definitions” is so important or has taken up so much time in the field, and then how you think about digital histories, digital humanities and humanities computing?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, the definitions problem became a focus of a lot of chatter on social media around 2010. And everybody was, I think, trying to put themselves inside of what was happening in the digital scholarship space. Everybody wanted to be part of it. And so it was really important that whatever the definitions were, they worked for you. And I think it’s just kind of human nature that everybody wants to be on the inside of definitions. But the problem was that there were a lot of different groups of people doing very, very different types of work, which had started in lots of different places around the world that had their own systems for how things needed to be done or should be done. And so it became very difficult to actually create a definition that made sense. That included everybody. And so one of my motivations for this book is to help people to see that we’re all actually doing quite specific things. And sometimes it’s easier to talk about it if you use the specific terminology of what it is you’re working on, rather than worrying quite so much about the broad label of digital humanities or humanities computing.

Michael Donnay 

Now, I think most of our audience will have heard about digital humanities. But humanities computing might be a new term for them. Could you explain what that approach is and how it might differ from the general digital humanities umbrella?

Adam Crymble 

In terms of humanities computing, that’s a group of people and a tradition that they’ve created, which largely comes out of processing language, and thinking about things like digital editing, or textual scholarship, or things rooted in linguistics. And I was working in a history department and that’s not where a lot of the technical work had traditionally come out of. So there was a completely different group of people interested in history who didn’t necessarily see a lot of common ground with those humanities computing people. So helping to unpick that genealogy, I think lets people understand why they maybe don’t understand what certain groups are working on, or they don’t necessarily relate to it. But that doesn’t mean that what they are interested in isn’t valuable.

Michael Donnay 

Definitely. It seems like one of the reasons that this concern with defining the field became so pressing in the early 2000s was this idea that digital humanities are new, that they need to stake their place within the academy. I think part of this desire stems from the legitimate newness of digital technology, when compared to say, the age of the history as a discipline. But it also stems from this effect that you refer to as “eternal September.” Could you explain what you mean by that term?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, that’s a term that I came across in a couple of different places – Chad Black, I think – or it might have been someone else. But it’s the idea that September is traditionally the start of the school year in a lot of places. And so students are introduced to these digital concepts or digital humanities more broadly. For them, it’s all brand new. So they’ve got this notion that, “Wow, we’ve just discovered this wonderful thing nobody’s looked at before.” And then you come around to the next September, and you teach the next cohort of students and they all have that same view, again, “Wow, we’ve just discovered this, this great thing on the horizon.” And I think as a culture, particularly in the West, we don’t tend to cherish old technology, and we throw away our phones as soon as there’s a new model. And most people don’t probably have the VCR in their house anymore, even though it probably still works. So we’re always looking forward towards technical solutions, and failing to recognize that a lot of the problems we face have probably been discussed by someone else, perhaps in a slightly different context a few years earlier. And if we don’t ever look backwards for the solution, then we’re just reinventing the wheel in unproductive ways.

Michael Donnay 

One of the arguments about time period that you make, and that I found really interesting in reading the book, is that it’s important to think about that longer history, because there’s a tendency, particularly in the digital humanities world, to think of it as a very recent development. And as you mentioned, in a lot of ways, it is because of the ubiquity of computing, but it does also have this longer history. Could you talk just a little bit about why you think it’s important to recognize that longer history, even if it’s not necessarily as widespread in those earlier periods as it becomes later?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, I think I came to digital scholarship during my master’s degree. And I’d never heard of it before I took a class called Digital History. And I was pretty convinced the digital history had started, about a month before I started noticing it. And as I started teaching, over the years in the same field, it was kind of clear to me that that’s what everybody seemed to be thinking. So there was always this notion. And I think actually, tech culture promotes this. There’s this notion that the things that your grandfather was interested in were just so ancient and couldn’t possibly understand how technology sculpts who we are. And actually, it’s really more of an evolution. It’s stepwise, there’s a new thing someone tries or someone figures out and it influences the way we do assignments or the way we do teaching in really kind of mundane ways. And together cumulatively, that all builds up to something quite amazingly different. But I think we need to recognize that it is a long story and that it’s a slow evolution of practice rather than necessarily something that just appears on the scene when Apple comes out with a new product that everybody gets excited about.

Michael Donnay 

In thinking about that history, you explain in one of the chapters of your book that digital humanities, at least in the English speaking world, has adopted a specific origin story for the field. And yet you argue there are other, alternative origins, which we could identify. Could you explain what the canonical story is and what alternative narratives might be?

Adam Crymble 

I think there’s definitely one that the digital humanities community has rallied around quite a lot and told a lot of stories about which is Robert Busa. Who was a member of the Catholic Church was interested in the words in the Bible and wanted to use computers to better understand that. So he created a huge project in collaboration with IBM, in the 1940-70s, called the Index Thomisticus, which is looking at an analyzing basically analyzing the words of St. Thomas Aquinas. And that was or has been really held up as, at least in the English speaking world – although ironically, a project done in Latin – has been kind of pointed to as the origin of digital humanities. But when I started looking into this more particularly within historical studies, it was clear that a lot of the early work was more quantitative. Particularly, based in the United States, people looking at the history of slavery, often in very problematic ways. Quite distinct from the work that Robert Busa was doing, but also at the same time. And I think it’s important to recognize that different communities have come to technology in different ways, and that they aren’t all actually influenced by Robert Busa. And that that’s okay. And even in other countries, I’m sure there are other origin stories that I don’t know about that are equally valuable, and need to be recognized as part of a plurality of pathways in technology and historical work, rather than just a single, almost religious story of where we all came from, which doesn’t really apply to everybody.

Michael Donnay 

Yeah, I think that idea that a single story might not apply to everyone is a really good transition to another aspect of your work I’d love to discuss. You focus a fair amount of attention in the book on the role of national academic cultures and regional influences in shaping digital humanities work. In doing so you make a really strong case for the idea that digital history or digital humanities isn’t a monolithic field, and that we should think much more seriously about how regional differences impact the work of DH scholars. While the book focuses on the US, Canada and the UK, you’ve also worked with digital humanities scholars from a range of other countries, as part of your involvement in The Programming Historian. I was wondering if you could share an example from that work, which might help us understand what you mean when you talk about the role of regional difference?

Adam Crymble 

The Programming Historian is a project that started off in English writing tutorials aimed at historians who maybe didn’t have anywhere where they could learn the technical skills that they wanted to learn. Which is really common in a lot of universities – you might be the only one who wants to know, whatever digital techniques. So it kind of filled that gap in the English speaking world. And then we got approached by some scholars who spoke Spanish and said, you know, “We’d like to translate this into Spanish so that because there’s nothing like this in Spanish.” And so we said, okay, and we put a team together, and they started translating. But they also then started to realize that some of the problems that English speaking scholars were having – that needed tutorials – didn’t really resonate with their audiences. Didn’t necessarily solve the same types of problems. So they’ve started now in more recent years, actually getting their own colleagues to write original tutorials in Spanish that address the types of things that they need for their classrooms or for their research.

And through that process, I recently collaborated with one of the scholars on that project, Maria José Afanador-Llach, who’s based in Colombia, and she’s a historian at University of the Andes in Bogota. And we co-wrote an article about what it was like to teach digital skills in England, which was my contribution, versus in Colombia, which was her contribution. And one of the big problems for her in Colombia was the history of colonialism in South America meant that a lot of the materials that she needed to use in her classroom, actually were in the possession of the Spanish state. So Colombia doesn’t own its own records, its own historical records, if those records were created by the Spanish leadership of the day. And that means that even if Colombians want to work with those material, they can only do so with the grace and favor of the Spanish government. And that’s something that someone working in the United Kingdom really doesn’t have to deal with. And I think it’s a really good example of some of the challenges that different regions have to cope with that others just do not.

Michael Donnay 

It’s so interesting to think about how those historical conditions continue to inform the types of research that scholars in places like Columbia are focused on. Do you see any role for digital history in addressing those kinds of conditions?

Adam Crymble 

Well, it certainly doesn’t solve issues of ownership of cultural materials. I think that’s something that needs – a conversation that needs to happen somewhere else. But it does allow, I suppose digitization to step in and help give copies of that material to the communities that the material is about, even if it doesn’t resolve everything. But actually, what we discovered was a lot of the energy, particularly in Colombia was going into different types of digital analysis. A lot of stuff focused on geography, and digital mapping, because that was something they had control over. They did have their own land, and they did have their own ability to map that land and understand it in geographical terms. And that’s something that’s quite popular also in the United States or in Britain, but it was a particular focus of the historians working in Latin America.

Michael Donnay 

One of the case studies in your book that I found really interesting was the discussion you have of scholarly blogging, particularly around the turn of the 21st century. And the way you tell is it’s almost more of a social story than a technological story. And I was wondering if you could talk a bit about the continuities and discontinuities between blogging and other forms of intellectual community building that you talk about in the book?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, I think I mean, I think there’s a long history of scholars wanting to kind of feel part of a community. Particularly the way universities work, often, you’re the only scholar in your university who knows or cares about the thing that you research because they don’t need two of you, they’ve only got enough kind of capacity for one of you. And so I think it’s long been the case of scholars have looked for ways to connect with each other across space. And so we have things like the scholarly newsletter, which appears or starts appearing in the 1920s, as a way for people to physically send bits of paper around that help them connect with each other and build relationships. And then in the 1980s, it started to be possible to send early email where you’d have these early mailing lists that you could communicate with each other on a daily basis through messages.

And I think blogging actually is just an evolution of that desire to feel part of a community with people who have shared intellectual interests with you, but might live 1000s of miles away. And so I see it as an evolution of that kind of social story of wanting to feel like you fit in somewhere. I interviewed some bloggers for this. And one of them described it as having that feeling of going into somebody’s parlor and listening to what they were up to, or what they were interested in today. And it was it was almost like a social visit, that took place through the internet. And I suppose that’s something that we’ve all had to evolve with even more recently, with the pandemic, where a lot of teaching and such went online last year. We’ve all had to find ways to feel connected through computers. And it’s more video calls now than it was back then. But it’s all just an evolution of remote communication and community building.

Michael Donnay 

Another thing you point to is that there are some really specific, both technical and timing issues that actually impact the history of the discipline. Particularly the development and then shuttering of a couple of journals at a key point when JSTOR and other collections, were really becoming the central way that scholars found research. I was wondering if you could tell us that story? What happened in the early 2000s to these journals, and how you see that impacting the field?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, there was a lot of, I mean, I say a lot – I think it was three or four humanities computing journals that kind of started to disappear around the time that blogging started to get popular. I wasn’t involved in any of them, so I’m sure there are conversations that were happening that explain what went wrong, and why they decided to shut down. But it was quite noticeable that they disappeared, and then a new generation of – at the time, middle aged scholars – set up a bunch of new journals that were supposed to kind of take their place. And it really had the effect of cutting off those long term conversations, because people who came into the field after those journals disappeared weren’t introduced to them. They didn’t read them. That scholarship wasn’t becoming part of their own understanding of the field. And it was it was quite a hard line actually. And it’s a hard line that I don’t think people who’d been around since the 80s recognize. That all that work just kind of disappeared and that people like me who were coming in, didn’t know about it. Nobody told us about it. It wasn’t getting indexed by JSTOR and the new big aggregators because there were no editors who were fighting to have it included in the collections. And so I think it was a big kind of watershed moment that made digital humanities look newer than it was because all of the conversations that were being broadcast were happening in new spaces – or allegedly new spaces like blogging, and then Twitter – with a lot of energy and excitement behind them, but without recognizing that it was actually part of a longer tradition. And I think that was maybe one of the reasons why there’s such a divide in those origin stories that we were talking about in those different communities.

Michael Donnay 

Switching gears a bit, I’d like to go from talking about content to methodology. And, specifically, I’d love to talk about the sources you used in writing the book and some of the sources you actually generated in the course of your research. You include both a glossary of terms and a data set of syllabi as part of the project. Can you explain a little bit about why you felt like those were either important sources to develop or to include as part of your process?

Adam Crymble 

I included a fairly extensive glossary – I’m sure it’s probably already becoming out of date, because our language and our concepts always evolve. But I think one of my kind of core aims of the book was to help people understand what digital scholars did. And in its many forms. And I think that we got in a trap in the last decade of using “digital” to mean everything. And when it means everything, it can’t mean anything. So by putting in a glossary, I felt like I was urging people to use the language that they that they meant, when they were trying to talk about a concept. Don’t just say “digital as in magic solution.” Be specific. Tell me what you’re actually going to do, or tell me what you’re actually interested in. So for me, that was an important kind of signal for the reader to just be really specific about what you want to do. And then we can evaluate it for its own merits, rather than try to mystify me by saying you’re gonna do something digital, and not really telling me what that means.

Michael Donnay 

I think one of the things your book does a really good job of is actually making explicit what historians spend their day doing. And not divorcing that from this broader intellectual approaches that they situate themselves in – I’m a social historian versus a cultural historian – but putting them side by side. I’m wondering if you could talk a bit about the connections or maybe the distinctions you see by focusing on historical practice alongside sort of a more traditional intellectual history of the field?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, that’s, that’s a good question. And I tried to divide the book up into different spheres of activities that historians do. So each chapter looks at a different type of thing that a scholar might be involved in, but also recognizes that nobody does all of them, or nobody does all of them well anyway. We’ve all we all have to specialize to some degree. So some people really like to focus on their teaching, others are more interested in how they can bring quantitative approaches to their research. And I think by separating them out and talking about them individually, it also kind of aids in that part of the agenda that I had, which was to help people to see or to talk about what they’re actually focused on. So if you’re really interested in teaching then let’s call it teaching, and let’s talk about teaching instead of something much broader.

You’re right, a lot of historian colleagues and friends of mine would describe themselves using those kind of intellectual fields: I’m a social historian, or I’m an intellectual historian or military historian. I suppose those are very helpful for figuring out which conferences you should attend, and where you should publish your research. But a lot of the digital scholarship or the digital scholars that I know are also interested in those things. I mean, I view myself as a historian of migration, but I’m also interested in how different approaches can help me be a better historian of migration. So for me, it’s a matter of finding spaces to explore what other people would do in this situation, how they would solve research question X or problem Y. And I think historians understand what they do is trying to create new knowledge in their areas. So talking about it in terms of what they already know how to do, but also challenging them to look a little bit further and think about what other people are up to. Is, I hope, a useful approach.

Michael Donnay 

Sticking with the idea of what historians do just a little bit longer. In addition to thinking about digital practices, you use a range of digital sources, like the blogs we discussed earlier, when writing the book. Did using those kinds of sources change how you think about historical evidence at all?

Adam Crymble 

I think what we have not yet seen in the so called “traditional history departments”, at least not at scale, is the 21st century historian. And I think that that’s coming very soon. And that scholar is going to be probably overwhelmingly a social media expert and working with social media data to tell stories about society. And you need a different set of skills for that than you do for some of the 18th century history that I do on my history of migration. You need to be able to work with material at scale, you need to know how to analyze data, you need to know how to ask research questions that use sample data. You need to have conversations about ethics, because these people are often still alive. And I think that’s definitely where we’re moving towards. We now have so much material created every day by everybody in the world who’s on the internet that we we don’t need to digitize to get more content that we can deal with. We’ve already got more content that we can deal with. So I’m looking forward to seeing those 21st century historian start to get their appointments and start to enter that space in exciting ways.

Michael Donnay 

As you mentioned, you study early modern London from a digital technique, but this is obviously more contemporary history. Was there anything you learned from doing this book about working with those kinds of sources that might influence your thinking about that 21st century history?

Adam Crymble 

I think a lot of the things I learned was why my colleagues didn’t understand what I was doing. Because it helped me to understand what they had come to recognize as historical work and why would I was doing maybe didn’t fit with that. So it helped me kind of professionally to understand some of the resistance that I think a lot of digital scholars feel when they’re when they’re working in a more traditional department. Yeah, looking at what other people are doing, it’s given me skills to work with data more broadly. I choose to work with historical material of London migration, but I could – I also have the technical skills to work with other materials. So I could collaborate with subject experts who wanted to look at social media materials, for example. And that’s where I think information professionals are increasingly valuable. They know how to work with the material. We still need the subject expert who knows what to do with it, and what questions to ask.

Michael Donnay 

Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting point, this increasing need to collaborate and recognize the expertise that both academic historians bring, but also that information science professionals bring. I wonder if you could talk a bit about what you think might be helpful for those collaborations, as historians increasingly look to not just produce their own work independently in that traditional mold, but are collaborating in their projects. What skills orientations might be helpful for that transition?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, I think it needs to be part of the curriculum, because working together is a skill. It’s not something that you automatically know how to do. And particularly the type of person who goes into a history program, which has traditionally been solo working. They’ve excelled in that environment for their whole life, their teachers, when they were a kid told them, they were brilliant. So they stayed in school. And they kept doing that, and have always survived on their own effort. And then all of a sudden, somebody tells them they have to collaborate, and they don’t know how. So I think it’s really important that that is taught to people. You need to you need to model that behavior, you need to tell them what a good collaboration looks like. Help them to deal with the conflicts that are going to arise and help them get over the idea that their individual brilliance is the thing that mattered. And I know some people are putting that on the curriculum now. But it’s it’s not everywhere yet. It’s not as many places as it needs to be.

Michael Donnay 

That’s interesting to hear you frame it like that, because I definitely remember in my undergraduate experience, really militating against those kinds of group projects, because they often felt quite frustrating and quite imposed.

Adam Crymble 

Yes, students complain about it. And in fact, then what happens is then the administrators say, “Students are complaining about your class, can you please take that off?” And so it’s one of those situations where it’s not in their best interest to have it taken off, but students tend to like what they already know they can do well, and so it takes a lot of effort to get them to come out of their comfort zone and learn things that they don’t know how to do well.

Michael Donnay 

And I think your focus on teaching it as a skill is really helpful because I definitely noticed coming back from having worked in collaborative environments and returning to grad school, I’d actually learned how to collaborate. Which made it much easier to work on this group projects in a way that I hadn’t learned or been taught how to collaborate.

I’d love to close out our conversation by talking a bit about your own scholarly practices separate from this particular book project. Specifically, you are the only historian I know who is on TikTok, which is a video platform generally associated with teens rather than academics. And I was wondering if you could talk a bit about that decision to join that particular platform and how you might see it connecting to the conversation we’ve been having about different scholarly mode of communication?

Adam Crymble 

I think it was partly because of writing this book that made me decide to go on TikTok because I was one of the fairly early ones to join in on blogging. I was then fairly early to join in on Twitter. And as I was doing my research, particularly around what was being taught as digital history work, a lot of professors were encouraging their students to join Twitter as if that somehow made you a digital humanities or digital history person just being on a particular social media platform. And they’re still on there. Even though Twitter’s now like 12-15 years old, like it’s not new anymore. It’s not exciting. It’s just a platform that I think a lot of academics have found comforting because it’s a written format, and they like to write, and they’ve built up social networks of colleagues and friends across that space. But it’s not something I would encourage my students to get on anymore, because it would be kind of weird. And it’s, I don’t know that they would benefit from it.

And I recognize that actually, a lot of those, a lot of younger people have moved on to new formats and particularly more visual formats: Instagram, and then Snapchat, and then TikTok, which is videos. And I thought I needed to like, I don’t know, you got to stay within stay hip and cool, right? You got to know what’s going on. So I figured I needed to see how these platforms maybe were continuities or a shift from the blogging and the tweeting that had come before. So I decided to set up an account and see what it was like to share history content on there. So I don’t do digital humanities content, but I do share history of migration content. And it’s been a fun kind of learning experience to figure out how to adapt to more video focused format than I am perhaps used to.

Michael Donnay 

Yeah, have there been any sort of specific takeaways that you’ve had? I know, a couple of your videos – I don’t quite know if they qualify as TikTok famous, I’m not on the platform, so I don’t know what the threshold is – but you do have a couple of videos that seem like they’ve gathered quite an audience. Have you learned anything specific from that experience?

Adam Crymble 

I think I’ve learned a lot about storytelling in a new, very brief format. I mean, you have to catch people’s attention really quickly. And you’ve got to think about the visual elements. And you certainly can’t put your footnotes in there, which historians like to do. So yeah, I’ve learned a lot about our shortening attention spans, and how to tell a story. And yeah, I have a couple of posts that have caught a little bit of attention. But unfortunately, I don’t know how to replicate that. So it’s very kind of opaque, in how to achieve in those spaces. And it definitely feels like something that you’re trying to achieve, which Twitter never really did. I never felt like I needed to get a certain number of retweets on Twitter, or have a certain number of followers, whereas TikTok feels more like a challenge that you’re supposed to win. And that’s definitely a change.

Michael Donnay 

I can imagine, as you think about other ways your personal practice has changed. Are there any takeaways that you think might be valuable for other historians, either in their own work or in studying the history of academic practice?

Adam Crymble 

Yeah, so I guess what I’ve done with this book is I compartmentalize the day of the historian or the week of the historian into different categories. And I think in doing that, it’s made me more aware that there are people who write on specific parts of our practice. So there are historians and educators who write about pedagogy and best practice in the classroom. And that’s not the stuff that ever comes up in your traditional history, undergraduate education. Nobody points to that stuff unless you have a specific class on that topic. So I think it’s really helped me professionally to recognize that there are people who write about how to get students to work well in groups, or how to do effective feedback in a teaching environment. There are also people who write about how to create an effective international collaborative project of professionals who are based in different language groups. There’s lots to learn from lots of people that aren’t writing on your subject-specific space. It’s not just 18th century historians of migration that you need to read about and learn from. You can learn from people all over the place who are interested in all the things that make up being a historian or being an educator or being a researcher. And so for me, that’s been a useful discovery for myself after having structured and written the book in that way.

Michael Donnay 

That feels like a great place to leave it. Thank you so much, Adam, for taking the time to speak with me today. I really enjoyed getting to talk about your book, and I appreciate you sharing your expertise with us.

Adam Crymble 

Thank you very much for having me.

Sources

Adam Crymble, Technology and the Historian (UI Press: 2021)

Adam Crymble & Maria José Afanador-Llach, Digital History: The Globally Unequal Promise of Digital Tools for History: UK and Colombia’s Case Study

The Programming Historian