I visited 16 archives on 3 continents, took digital photos of 100K+ pgs of archival material, + gathered thousands more pgs in other formats to write #ForgottenPeace. As a result, I have a comprehensive system of archival methodologies + best practices #twitterstorians
I’ve given yearly workshops on these methods to colleagues, grad students, + undergrads @Princeton, as well as @UConnHistory. I’ve long thought of recording the presentations, both to share these ideas w/ a larger audience + to get feedback to improve my own practices
So here are my two videos on research methods for historians
1) (13:19)
2) (26:03)
Part #1 focuses on secondary sources and general best practices for organizing research materials. Even if you’re not a historian, there’s a lot here that may be useful to you.
Part #2 looks at photographing, indexing, and taking notes on archival materials.
5 additional #twitterstorian research tips that didn’t make it into the videos:
#1: I use the color-coding scheme on article PDFs, too
#twitterstorian research tip #2: If I’m reading a PDF on my laptop, I’ll often take notes in a TextEdit file. It’s unobtrusively off to one side, so I don’t have to toggle b/w my notes + the PDF. Has automatic spellcheck too, even in Spanish
#twitterstorian research tip #3: 1 thing I don’t love about DEVONthink is where it puts the text files. If you want to back up, control-click on a file, select Show in Finder. Tab over in Column view to the rtf folder, which you can then copy over to Drive for backup
#twitterstorian research tip #4: I have a spreadsheet called ToC, where I make my own tables of contents for works that lack them. Can also be helpful to calculate the % of a book comprised by a contributor’s work
#twitterstorian research tip #5: When I scan microfilmed newspapers, I put a keyword, the date, + pg # in the title of the file
I tweeted out some other productivity tips in the fall:
I hope these videos help you streamline + improve your research process! Please let me know your impressions + own practices. Will do a Spanish version of these videos at some point

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More from @RAKarl

Jun 9, 2021
Como llevo varios meses alejado de Twitter, no he opinado sobre el paro nacional. Pongo aquí algunas de mis observaciones como historiador, que quizás otr@s han postulado 1/
La masacre de Santa Bárbara, de 1963, no me parece la comparación histórica más adecuada, ya que la represión la hizo el Ejército y en un municipio de provincia. Busqué episodios menos conocidos 2/
Un mes antes de Santa Bárbara, el movimiento sindical organizó manifestaciones en varias ciudades, para presionar al gobierno para que realice un reajuste de salarios. Pero en Bogotá, se desencadenó una situación para nosotros bastante familiar 3/
Read 11 tweets
Jan 4, 2021
#academictwitter, do your new year's resolutions include being more organized when it comes to research? Here are some tips to help make that happen 1/
This workflow uses @zotero + Google Drive to centralize article/book PDFs in a cloud-synced folder. No more exporting PDFs to read on your tablet, no more searching around a dozen folders w/ names like Research Downloads (Recent Recent) youtube.com/playlist?list=… 2/
This workflow takes just a few minutes to set up, at which point it'll become a natural part of your research process. It probably won't help remember everything you've downloaded, but at least you'll know where to look 3/
Read 9 tweets
Aug 29, 2019
More thoughts on my book #ForgottenPeace + the nearly 3-year-old peace process in Colombia, after today's news that a group of FARC commanders are rearming 1/
I was supposed to spend today revising a much-overdue article on the FARC's founding myths + preparing a presentation on Colombia's current security situation for an upcoming international conference on asylum. Both questions come together in today's news 2/
(Thread will be slow to unfold, as school hasn't started yet here + my kids are still home. Espero publicar el hilo pronto en español también) 3/
Read 54 tweets
Jun 21, 2019
How to get archive catalog entries from PDF to a spreadsheet, using Zotfile and regular expressions. Still plan to do a video on this later, but for now here’s the process via thread. #twitterstorians #regex 1/
What you'll need: app to mark up the PDF (I use iAnnotate on the iPad; Preview works too), @Zotero plus Zotfile, non-Word text editor (I use TextMate on Mac; hear Notepad++ is great for PC) for regular expressions, spreadsheet app 2/
Regular expressions are a sort of syntax used across varying programming languages. Think of them as a fancy find-and-replace. I can't do them justice here (there are plenty of guides online), but here's a cheat sheet for the commands I model here 3/
Read 13 tweets
Jun 3, 2019
Rising college junior who's just declared as a history major? Congratulations! Interested in getting a jump on next year + beyond? Following several conversations I've had on this IRL, here are a couple pieces of advice. #twitterstorians 1/
These are largely things I would cover in a junior methods seminar. Hopefully your dept. has one; maybe it comes as a senior capstone. Whatever the case, it's never too early or late to start thinking about working more efficiently or improving your writing 2/
Tip #1: Sign up for @zotero. If that's as far as you get, you're already ahead. To unlock next level, check out a quick tutorial (libguides.princeton.edu/zotero), see how you might add sources. Formatting notes/bibliography can wait until the fall 3/
Read 11 tweets
Feb 15, 2019
Trump’s emergency declaration + what it means for US democracy over the medium to long term has echoes in my research on Colombian politics in the 20th century 1/
Under Colombia’s 1886 constitution (in place until 1991), the president could declare a state of siege “in cases of foreign war, or internal upheaval.” This gave him authority to suspend existing legislation, issue extraordinary decrees 2/
The state of siege was invoked several times between 1886 + the 1940s, often on a regional basis. The key moment came in July 1944, a group of military officers + Conservative Party collaborators kidnapped President Alfonso López. The govt declared a nationwide state of siege 3/
Read 9 tweets

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