Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


History & ICT: A Guided Study - 30 credits (HS1705)

Module Tutors: Professor Keir Waddington and Dr Steve Mills

Course Description
In this module, students learn about, gain practical skills in, and implement ICT in historical research. The module introduces students to key ways of using ICT in the presentation, interpretation and analysis of historical data. Students learn the basic principles behind the use of spreadsheets, databases, web page creation and spatial analysis and gain skills in the use of applications pertinent to each: Microsoft Excel; Microsoft Access; Macromedia DreamWeaver MX and Environmental Systems Research Institute ArcGIS 9.1.

Students select an area of study that will benefit from the careful selection of historical data and its display and manipulation in an independent ICT/history project. In this project, students will be expected to demonstrate that they can locate appropriate data, evaluate its reliability, use appropriate ICT applications and integrate these to come to relevant historical conclusions in a 5,000 word project. No detailed prior knowledge of ICT will be assumed.

Credits: 30

Availability of module:  Every year


Necessary for

Teaching methods
The aim of lectures is to provide a brief introduction to a particular topic, establishing the salient features of each approach. They provide a a starting point for individual reading, seminar discussion and critical reviews. Where appropriate, handouts and other materials may be distributed to reinforce the material discussed.

A series of workshops will enable students to discuss their projects and to develop proficiency in the use of spreadsheets, databases, websites and quantitative applications appropriate to their project.

Students will be assessed by:
Formative assessment takes the form of a project design in an area of individual interest (2,000 words).
Summative assessment in the form of a 5,000-6,000 word written project (excluding empirical appendices and references) [100%]

Summary of course content
Topics covered will include:
ICT and history
Use of spreadsheets
Use of databases
Building a database
Creating web pages
Spatial techniques - Geographic Information Systems
Historical geo-spatial data sources
Skills in spatial techniques
Designing a history ICT project

Learning outcomes
Students will be able to:
Demonstrate a broad knowledge of computer aided storage, retrieval and analysis of historical data
Demonstrate a familiarity with computing appropriate for the presentation and interpretation of specific historical data
Demonstrate an understanding of the potential of computer applications for historical research
Demonstrate proficiency in the use of selected computer applications (spreadsheets, databases, website development and spatial analysis) in history
Understand principles behind selected computer applications
Evaluate data of variable quality and source
Apply computer programmes in research

Students will extend their ability to:
know the advantages and pitfalls of using various types of historical data in computer-aided research
comprehend the methods appropriate to the recording, measurement, storage and analysis of historical data
use computer applications effectively to support history projects
formulate and justify their own arguments and conclusions in seminar discussions.
communicate ideas and arguments effectively, with supporting evidence, in class discussion and in writing
modify as well and defend their own position
think critically and challenge assumptions
use information technology for research and assignment presentation
manage their time and organise their own study methods and workload
work effectively with others as part of a team or group in seminar or tutorial discussions

Suggested book purchases

Suggested preparatory reading
Lewis, M.J. and Lloyd-Jones, R. 1996. Using computers in history. London: Routledge.
Booth, B. 2001. Getting started with ArcGis. Redlands, CA: ESRI Press.
Brown, C. 2003. Beginning Dreamweaver MX. Birmingham: Wrox.
Feddema, H.B. 2002. Microsoft Access version 2002 inside out. Redmond, Wash.: Microsoft Press.
Frye, C. 2003. Microsoft Excel 2003 step by step. Redmond, Wash: Microsoft Press.
Greenstein, D. I. 1994. A historian's guide to computing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gregory, I.N. 2003. A place in history: a guide to using GIS in historical research. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
Harvey, C. and Press, J. 1996. Databases in Historical Research. London: Macmillan.
Hudson, P. 2000. History by Numbers. London: Arnold.
Knowles, A.K. (ed.) 2002. Past time, past place: GIS for history. Redlands, CA: ESRI Press.