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    Research Tool for Historians

    by  • April 27, 2017 • 2016-2017 Provost Digital Innovation Grant Winners

    Project Name: Research Tool for Historians
    Grantee: Tahir Butt
    Discipline: Urban Education
    Funding Cycle: 2016-2017

    After having experimented with more tools than I would like to admit, I have concluded that there remains a major gap between what is possible with current technology and what digital research tools are available for those doing history. The proposal presented here is to contribute to shrinking this gap by providing a community of scholars with a tool that is both specialized for doing historical research, flexible enough that it can grow as the research process unravels, and improving as technology advances. I propose that recent developments in open-source web technologies, namely Electron[electron.atom.io] and databases like CouchDB[couchdb.apache.org], enable us to use HTML, CSS and Javascript, which more researchers will be familiar with, to create cross-platform applications that provide new possibilities for managing and analyzing a research database. These still emerging technologies open up the possibility that we can craft a digital research tool for historians that is both specialized and flexible like FileMaker Pro but can also leverage the technological advances being made by the open-source community.