We’re so excited to launch the Programming Historian 2! This newest
version is updated and fine-tuned, but it also reflects a different,
more distributed and inclusive way of thinking about teaching code. In
addition to a solid set of core Python tutorials, we’re soliciting
material from our friends around the web — all of which will be
peer-reviewed and credited. You’ll be able to use the tutorials
sequentially, but you should also be able to “fork” the lessons,
following paths that suit your interests and the needs of your project.
What you see now should look pretty familiar if you’ve used the
original Programming Historian. Our core set of tutorials leads
you through the basics of Python, from opening documents to scraping the
web to analyzing a body of text. We’ve got a fresh new look, thanks to
Jeremy Boggs. As the site grows, you’ll see more tutorials, and you’ll
have the opportunity to give feedback and contribute your own ideas.
I’m personally really excited to be involved with PH2 (as the community
manager). As a scholar myself, I’m keenly aware of the ways that digital
tools and resources have changed the way we do our work. Increasingly,
we’re dealing not with piles of index cards, but with folder after
folder of digital files — not to mention the nagging knowledge that new
sources are appearing all the time. This landscape of data can be
overwhelming, to put it mildly. We always knew that to be a scholar was
to fish in a sea of data, but the proliferation of digital sources makes
the limits of our time and attention painfully clear.
So PH2 comes along at the right time. Programming can help us find
order, patterns, gaps, and surprises in our sources. It can help us
manage and sort through our data. It can’t do the analysis or close
reading — that will always be our job — but it can help us see things we
may not have noticed otherwise. To program is not to abandon the
humanistic values that drew us to our work, but to see what happens when
we combine the ambiguity and complexity native to the humanities with
the machine logic of programming.
I’m also excited to be involved with PH2 because it’s important to me
that coding feel open and accessible to everyone, not just the people
who self-identify as geeks or techies. Programming is too much fun to
leave to professionals. You can do this, even if you don’t think of
yourself as technical, and it’s my firm hope that you feel welcomed and
well-supported as you work through these lessons.
So dig in, get your hands dirty, and let us know how we can improve the
site. Tell us what confuses you and how we can improve the experience.
In using this resource, you’re joining a community of
scholar-programmers, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome you.