by Unknown | 6/24/2008 01:09:00 PM
Lost in the monthly shuffle of the History Carnival, which will be posted again here on July 1, few have noticed that that the Carnival may be ending soon owing to lack of interest in hosting, nominating, and linking.

This is pretty shocking to me. The History Carnival has been around since 2005 and is possibly the original Web 2.0 application of the history blogosphere. Sharon suggests in her post that support for the specialized carnivals may be eroding interest in the general History Carnival, but the evidence suggests the opposite: only one new history carnival, the Military History Carnival, has been started since 2005, while two others, Asian History and Bad History, have been shuttered in the past year.

It's not just history carnivals either. This Facebook group, which could become possibly the best tool we have for sending messages to other bloggers if enough people would join, continues to languish at eleven members. And History Nexus, Andy Walpole's site dedicated exclusively to building Web 2.0 within the history blogosphere, has not gotten nearly the attention it deserves -- though I'll admit that the 73 installs of the History Now! widget -- three times the number it had just two months ago, when I made an aggressive push on this blog to get people to install it -- is quite encouraging.

Maybe I'm the only one worried about this. After all, how much connectivity does there have to be between history blogs anyway? My concern is mostly for new and smaller blogs. Like everything on the Internet, the history blogosphere is beginning to solidify. Most of the most popular blogs today were founded between 2003 and 2006; except for a few sites like The Edge of the American West and Historiann, very few new blogs have drawn significant traffic since I started ProgressiveHistorians in September 2006. Again, maybe this isn't a problem -- maybe all the good blogs really were founded years ago. But I doubt it, and I'd like to see more new blogs get a real chance in the still-emerging blogosphere. To accomplish that, Web 2.0 tools like the History Carnivals and the History Now! widget will need not only to survive but to thrive.

What do you guys think about this? Is maintaining the History Carnival important? If so, how can we ensure that it will happen? (And in the very short term, does anybody want to volunteer to host the Carnival next month?




Blogger Pete Jones on 6/24/2008 7:18 PM:

Having gotten into the history blog scene in fall '07- I'm kinda disappointed to hear tell of the imminent collapse of history web 2.0. Though a bit skeptical of it.

It seems that the more professional subset of digital humanities are thriving- GMU's CHNM, for example. They just added a professor of digital history (or posted job ads for one). It is disappointing that history carnivals have declined. I always check it out and find numerous awesome posts from places i never check.

Finally, what is this History Now! widget?


Blogger Unknown on 6/24/2008 9:35 PM:

Pete, the digital humanities are thriving, but I fear that they may be doing so at the expense of good old blogging. Running a digital history blog can count for a lot professionally, while running a blog like ProgressiveHistorians counts for very little.

CHNM was probably hiring to replace the late Roy Rosenzweig, though I wouldn't argue that they're hurting in any way.

As for the widget, follow the links. It's the thing called "History Now!" that runs here in the righthand sidebar. Basically, it indexes all blogs that have signed up with Andy (to do so, go to History Nexus and follow the instructions to set up an account and submit blogs) and updates their links every time each blog posts a new item. You can run the widget on your blog by getting the code (also linked above). I highly recommend it.


Blogger Teacher Mom on 6/25/2008 7:14 AM:

I would be very disappointed if the History Carnival disbanded. One comment that I have as a reader of a couple of blog carnivals is that they can be overwhelming. I think it is sometimes too much I end up skipping or skimming towards the end. I think shorter, targeted (thematically perhaps) carnivals would be more effective.

Just my 2 cents!


Blogger Unknown on 6/25/2008 1:09 PM:

Interesting...would it be better if we limited the Carnival to, say, 15-20 links?


Anonymous Anonymous on 6/27/2008 11:34 AM:

As a reader, I would be very disappointed if the History Carnival disappeared.

I'm not an academic, just an interested reader (BA in history, more than ten years ago, and never worked in the field) who likes the mix of subjects and tones every month.


Blogger Tim Lacy on 6/27/2008 4:40 PM:

Over the past two years, I've noticed that traffic radically decreases in the history blogospher over the summer (meaning from mid-May to Mid-August). So we should ask this rhetorical question in late September or August, when participation is (or could be) at its highest.

In sum, let's wait and see. - TL


Blogger Unknown on 6/27/2008 5:17 PM:

Tim, I've found that my own traffic peaks in February -- and that summer, as you say, is the worst time for readership. But I think that Sharon's comparing this year's traffic and interest with last year's, so it's a valid and troubling comparison.


Blogger Larry Cebula on 6/28/2008 1:19 PM:

I find my own interest in blogging flagging of late. I wonder if the answer isn't more group blogs along a common theme. Some of the most vibrant blogs on the internet are big group blogs--I am thinking of MetaFilter and Boing Boing. Not only do you get more posters, you get a built-in band of commentors.

One of the H-NET lists should support a group blog, automatically enrolling all of its subscribers as blog users with posting privileges. I think H-West or H-AmIndian would be good candidates.


Anonymous Anonymous on 7/01/2008 7:19 PM:

Carnivals seem to be a great idea - we at got it only once, but we want to develope in polish blogosphere such a project.


Anonymous Anonymous on 7/01/2008 7:22 PM:

And what's more - maybe it is worth to make solutions helping to collaborate history blogers from different countries - american blogosphere has great power, but what about for e.g. german one? Language is not a main problem IMHO.


Blogger Unknown on 7/02/2008 12:03 AM:

MW, I absolutely agree with you -- how do we make this happen?


Anonymous Anonymous on 7/02/2008 6:17 AM:

even you don't know the foreign language, you can read posts by using Google Translate tool - it helps to get the main idea of the article (i do it with posts) and get the links, news, data etc. But more important could be to develope a base of history blogs RSS sources and make a mashup, a site, where all the posts would be re-published automatically. There is or our tiny project, but this future system should be opened for user ratings and comments for the feeds and sources - and blogs with better rating would be presented better than blogs with a few stars. Cliopatria made a directory of history blogs, but this is a static one.

There is also a system of Technorati with tags (it is possible to search posts with described with a specified tag) - maybe this could be an easier direction.


Blogger Unknown on 7/02/2008 10:58 AM:

MW, thanks for your input. I'll forward this to Andy Walpole, who works on these things, and see if he's interested in creating something like this.


Blogger Unknown on 7/02/2008 11:09 AM:

By the way, I've added your widget to my site! Is there a way you could edit the feeds to state what blog the posts come from, like Andy did in the widget above yours?