Gerben Zaagsma

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Biography: I am a historian and postdoctoral researcher at UCL’s Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. I work on a project dealing with responses to anti-Semitism among the Jewish migrant Left in Paris and London in the late 1930s. In addition to my interest in modern Jewish History and Yiddish Studies I also have an interest in digital history. I built two academic internet portals: European History Primary Sources is an index of scholarly websites that offer digital sources for the history of Europe, either as a whole or for individual countries. EHPS is hosted by the European University Institute in Florence and co-ordinated by the EUI History librarian Serge Noiret with whom I edit the site. Yiddish Sources is my own project and aims to be a comprehensive academic portal to resources in Yiddish and Yiddish Studies. I am particularly interested in the way in which digital sources transform the work of historians and what the methodological consequences are of using them and an article on this topic using the example of online sources for Jewish history is due to be published.

Gerben Zaagsma's Blog posts

Organising knowledge and resources online

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

One of the things I am very much interested in is how scholars find and use information on the internet. More and more the ability to effectively query online information seems to have an impact on the quality of research. I have built two academic portals with Drupal and so have some experience with organising knowledge, or access to knowledge, online for particular fields & resources (see European History Primary Sources and Yiddish Sources).

I would be very much interested in sharing experiences with others who have built online resources and I would therefore suggest a session where we discuss how to organise knowledge online and particular what issues need to be taken into account when building online resources for academic purposes.

The idea of the session could be to create some guidelines for effective webdesign for academic purposes. Some points that could be discussed:

– choice of system: what CMS to use etc.

– design issues: effective user interfaces, navigation, functionality

– what are the issues and problems we encounter when setting up a website for a particular academic field/audience?

– how can we best engage users? Does Web 2.0 functionality always make sense?

These are just some ideas so any comments most welcome!