H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online is an international interdisciplinary organization of scholars and teachers dedicated to developing the enormous educational potential of the Internet and the World Wide Web. It has become an “International, interdisciplinary network of scholars communicating and sharing resources through a variety of interactive media. It is made up of nearly 200 discipline-specific networks that host moderated scholarly discussion, announcements, reviews, formal and informal publications and other scholarly digital content. In addition to dedicated networks, H-Net services include the H-Net Job Guide, H-Net Reviews, H-Announce, the H-Net Book Channel, and the new H-Net journal services. Individual networks are edited and moderated by teams of volunteer editors who are scholars in the network’s subject field. Each network is required to have an advisory board and a staff of online editors. Included in the staff are the positions of the Vice President of Networks, the Vice President of Teaching, and the Vice President of Research and Publications. Elections for the H-Net Executive council occur on an annual basis and are run by the President of Networks. The executive committee is composed of seven representatives, the Executive Director, the Associate Directors, and a treasurer and secretary are appointed. H-Net upholds the goal of maintaining open access scholarly resources. This includes the internationalization of resources to create global accessibility.
|Launched||March 25, 1993|
H-Net is hosted by the Department of History at Michigan State University, but H-Net officers, editors, and subscribers come from all over the globe.
History of H-Net
H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online was founded in 1993 by Richard Jensen, a history professor at the University of Illinois - Chicago. He was assisted by Wendy Plotkin (a graduate student at the University of Illinois) and James Mott (a PhD of the University of Illinois). H-Net began in the form of a LISTSERV, users could subscribe to groups or “lists” and receive notifications in their in-boxes. This platform connected scholars through their in-boxes and made use of the new uses of e-mail.
The earliest lists included: H-Urban, H-Women, H-Holocaust, H-CivWar, H-Law, H-LatAm, H-South, H-Rural, H-Amstdy, H-Ethnic, H-Albion, H-Teach, H-Judaic, H-OIEAHC (later renamed H-Early-America), H-Film, H-Rhetor, H-Labor, and H-Pol. The largest list at the time was HOLOCAUS (later renamed H-Holocaust), with 290 subscribers.
In 1994, H-Net created its first formal governance structure and elected an executive committee with Richard Jensen as the first Executive Director. H-Net's governance structure consisted of seven elected officers and nine elected council members This is also the year that H-Net began technology training workshops specifically for the humanities as a part of an NEH project aimed at introducing scholars to digital humanities and training them to use the internet as a tool.
The home office of H-Net moved to Michigan State University's History Department in 1995. The organization held conferences, in conjunction with the AHA, for all the editors of H-Net in 1995 and again in 1996. H-Net received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Japanese Foundation (Tokyo); some networks were endorsed by or affiliated with either home campuses or related organizations.
In 1997, MSU appointed, MSU history Professor Mark Kornbluh as Executive Director, and founded MATRIX: MSU's Humanities Technology Center. Kornbluh also helped establish the constitution and bylaws for the organization.
While its core activity began with a series of field-based, edited email discussion groups that expanded into “networks,” each with their own web presence, mission, and intellectual activities, over time H-Net has developed to become a major resource for the training of new scholars.
In January 2005 Peter Knupfer was appointed Executive Director after serving as Associate Director and second-in-command for four years. He had been recruited in 2000 by Mark Kornbluh and relocated from Kansas State University to Michigan State University. The duration of Knupfer's term of service as Executive Director was from January 2005 to December 2019.
In 2013, H-Net switched platforms from email LISTSERV to a Drupal-based online commons, allowing both interactivity and online scholarly publications. The discussion log archives from 1994-2012 remain publicly available.
In 2018 H-Net celebrated its 25th anniversary as an organization and held the #HNet25 campaign both on social media and across the Commons. This created the “H-Net 25 Crossroads”, housing the anniversary archive project, and a timeline of the H-Net networks.
The H-Net Commons
The H-Net Commons, the web home of H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online, is a robust Drupal-based content management platform that serves as the foundation for what many have called H-Net 2.0. The Commons is now home to 180 free online communities (Networks) edited by around 300 volunteer field experts worldwide with approximately 200,000 subscribers, each network overseen by an advisory board of experts.
The H-Net Commons Platform enables users to:
- post images, audio, video, and text
- exchange discussion messages and receive them via email if they wish
- view users’ profiles
- customize subscribed network content using a "My H-Net" content widget
- deliver pages via RSS feeds to their mailboxes or feed readers
- create blogs and customize pages of links and other content
- create content-based projects (image archives, a series of podcasts, a syllabus commons, etc.)
- use private planning space for network editorial teams
- create content through a common web-based interface
- search for material across H-Net that has been categorized and tagged by editors and users for easy retrieval, bookmarking, and saving dynamic searches to My H-Net
H-Announce is an academic announcement service housed on the H-Net Commons. Free of charge, any user with an account can submit an announcement as long as it is not a for-profit activity or a book announcement. To see the full H-Announce guidelines, visit here: https://networks.h-net.org/node/905/pages/73385/h-announce-users-guide. These announcements are moderated by trained H-Net staff and sent out via e-mail notifications. Digests are sent to network editors daily for reposting on their networks.
The H-Net Book Channel is a new book discovery service which sorts new academic publications by category in a searchable format. Users can browse the new titles by category on the H-Net Book Channel Home Page: https://networks.h-net.org/h-net-book-channel. Users can also submit new book announcements with the “User Submissions” form. You can find this form here: https://networks.h-net.org/book-channel-submission-form
The H-Net Reviews program is one of the largest archives of academic reviews online. Over 48,800 reviews of academic titles and other publications have been commissioned, copy edited, and published on the Commons. All reviews are archived and can be searched by author, publisher, title, ISBN, LC card number, reviewer name, date of review, the network that commissioned the review, and keywords. Each published review is sent out to the subscriber base via e-mail notifications through H-Review as well as on the “Reviews Tab” on the front page of the Commons.
H-Net set out to create a reviews program that reached out to a wide variety of scholars to participate in conversations that, previously, has only been available to the elites of the profession. The earliest archived review on H-Net is on H-Law and was published in 1993. However, the reviews program was not regularly published until 1995. In 2003, the Library of Congress began linking H-Net Reviews to the records in the online catalog.
In a 2005 study comparing H-Net online reviews and print reviews conducted by Eileen L. McGrath, Winifred Fordham Metz, John B. Rutledge, they concluded that there are some significant differences between the demographics of reviews. With the print publications reviewers having a trend of higher education and experience in their fields. However, H-Net reviews still hold validity in the scholarly community and make participating in the field more accessible to younger and less seasoned scholars. In this study they found that there was no major difference between the harshness of the H-Net Reviewers and that of the Journal of Southern History (JoSH) reviewers, and that the main difference between the two was the length of review. The H-Net reviewers tended to have reviews three times the length of the print reviews from the same field.
In 2008 the H-Net Reviews program underwent a major update including features such as a new status updating system for tracking where each title is in the reviews process and a multi-layered editing program including two layers of content and copy editing.
H-Net Job Guide
The H-Net Job Guide is an online based job board for academic job postings in the US and abroad. Increasingly, the Job Guide serves the non-academic world of non-profits, government, and NGOs, as well as for-profit companies seeking candidates with specialized training and experience. Jobs posted to the Job Guide are distributed to H-Net's active community of researchers, teachers, and scholarly professionals already collaborating through H-Net's 180+ public networks. Revenue from the H-Net Job Guide recovers the cost of all H-Net's services to the public and supports the work of hundreds of volunteer editors.
For job seekers, all listings in the Job Guide can be browsed by category along with a few filter options. The Job Guide originated with the majority of the listings being specifically for history, however as it developed over time it began posting a greater variety of social science positions such as: humanities computing, speech, rhetoric/composition, and business. More recently, the Job Guide has begun to incorporate more positions within administration fields and other vocations outside of academia.
H-Net Maintains an active social media presence across several platforms and many individual networks manage social media accounts specific to their fields of study.
A selection of the individual networks also maintains social media accounts, the majority of these are involved with Twitter, however, a few have created Facebook pages.
All Social Media Accounts
Facebook: H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, https://www.facebook.com/humanities.socialsciences.online/
Main Twitter: @HNet_Humanities, https://twitter.com/HNet_Humanities
H-Net Book Channel Twitter: @HNetBookChannel, https://twitter.com/HNetBookChannel
H-Net Reviews Twitter: @HNet_Reviews, https://twitter.com/HNet_Reviews
H-Net Job Guide Twitter: @HNetJobGuide, https://twitter.com/HNetJobGuide
LinkedIn: H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online https://www.linkedin.com/company/h-net-humanities-&-social-sciences-on-line
All H-Net social media accounts: https://networks.h-net.org/node/513/pages/132236/h-net-social-media.
Founded in 1993, H-Net celebrated its 25th anniversary as an organization in 2018. This included a collection of campaigns across the website and social media all housed on the newly created H-Net 25 Crossroads network. Visit the crossroads here: https://networks.h-net.org/hnet25. On social media the hashtags used to organize content were #ThankYouHNet and #HNet25.
Featured on the crossroads is a timeline of the networks in the order they were founded, as well as an archival discussion logs project called “Mining the Logs,” showcasing some of the more dynamic conversations from the original H-Net lists.
- Andrew McMichael, "The Historian, the Internet, and the Web: A Reassessment," Perspectives: The Newsletter of the American Historical Association, 36: 2 (Feb. 1998). https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/february-1998/the-historian-the-internet-and-the-web-a-reassessment
- Brennan, Elaine. “History Net Lists”. Humanist Archives Vol. 7. 6 July 1993. https://dhhumanist.org/Archives/Virginia/v07/0073.html
- Jeremy D. Popkin, From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography (Oxford UP, 2015, ISBN 978-0-199-92300-7).
- “What’s Happening at H-Net”. H-Net Commons. https://networks.h-net.org/node/513/pages/92040/whats-happening-h-net
- “The Department of History and Humanities Technology”. The Department of History. Michigan State University. https://web.archive.org/web/20121018153500/http://history.msu.edu/humanities-technology/
- “H-Net Reviews: Online Scholarly Reviews”. H-Net Commons. https://networks.h-net.org/reviews
- Kornbluh, Mark Lawrence. “H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online”. 1 February 1999. Perspectives on History: an AHA magazine. https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/february-1999/affiliate-news-h-net-humanities-and-social-sciences-online?pv=y
- Kitchens, Joel. “Clio on the Web: An Annotated Bibliography of Select E-Journals for History”. 1 February 2000. Perspectives on History: an AHA magazine. https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/february-2000/clio-on-the-web-an-annotated-bibliography-of-select-e-journals-for-history
- McClymer, John. “How Do I Find the Good Stuff?”. American Historical Association. 2005. https://www.historians.org/teaching-and-learning/teaching-resources-for-historians/approaches-to-teaching/the-aha-guide-to-teaching-and-learning-with-new-media/how-do-i-find-the-good-stuff
- McMichael, Andrew. The Historian, the Internet, and the Web: A Reassessment. 1 February 1998. Perspectives on History: an AHA magazine. https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/february-1998/the-historian-the-internet-and-the-web-a-reassessment
- Popkin, Jeremy. “From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography”. 2015. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/from-herodotus-to-h-net-9780199923007?cc=au&lang=en&#
- Schmidt, Lisa. “Preserving the H-Net Email Lists: A Case Study in Trusted Digital Repository Assessment”. The American Archivist. 29 June 2011. https://americanarchivist.org/doi/pdf/10.17723/aarc.74.1.u2jw67r7257wqw66
- Knupfer, Peter. "H-Net: Its Past, Present, and Future". OAH Newsletter.
- "About H-Net | H-Net". networks.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "H-Net and the Internationalization of Scholarship | Perspectives on History | AHA". www.historians.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- University, Michigan State. "MSU History Department". Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "H-Net 25th Anniversary Crossroads | H-Net". networks.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "H-Net: Digital Discussion for Historians | Perspectives on History | AHA". www.historians.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- Richard Jensen. "Internet's Republic of Letters: H-Net for Scholars". Archived from the original on 2000-09-03. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- McGrath, Eileen L.; Metz, Winifred Fordham; Rutledge, John B. (Jan 2005). "H-Net Book Reviews: Enhancing Scholarly Communication with Technology". College & Research Libraries. 66 (1): 8–19. doi:10.5860/crl.66.1.8. ISSN 2150-6701.
- "Restated Articles of Incorporation – Non-Profit for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online" (PDF).
- "Sara Tucker, H.-Net President" <tuckpres@mail h-net msu edu> (2005-03-14). "INTRODUCING NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OFFICERS". H-announce.
- "H-Net Discussion Networks -". lists.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "Mining the H-Net Logs | H-Net 25th Anniversary Crossroads | H-Net". networks.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "H-Announce: A User's Guide | Help Desk | H-Net". networks.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "H-Net Book Channel | H-Net". networks.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "Submit a Book Form". H-Net Commons.
- "Peter Knupfer, H.-Net" <peter@MAIL H.-NET MSU EDU> (2008-10-03). "From the Executive Director: H-Net's New Reviews Management System". H-announce.
- "H-Net Job Guide". www.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- "H-Net Social Media | H-Net | H-Net". networks.h-net.org. Retrieved 2019-05-23.
- Matthew Gilmore, "H-Net: Digital Discussion for Historians", Perspectives: The Newsletter of the American Historical Association, 45: 5 (May 2007).
- Richard J. Jensen, "Internet's Republic of Letters: H-Net for Scholars", (1997). A discussion of H-Net and its origins from the perspective of the founder.
- Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, "H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences OnLine," Perspectives: The Newsletter of the American Historical Association, 37: 2 (February 1999).
- Joel D. Kitchens, "Clio on the Web: An Annotated Bibliography of Select E-Journals for History," Perspectives: The Newsletter of the American Historical Association, 38: 2 (Feb. 2000).
- John McClymer, The AHA Guide to Teaching and Learning with New Media, (Washington: The American Historical Association), 2005.
- Andrew McMichael, "The Historian, the Internet, and the Web: A Reassessment," Perspectives: The Newsletter of the American Historical Association, 36: 2 (Feb. 1998).
- Jeremy D. Popkin, From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography (Oxford UP, 2015, ISBN 978-0-199-92300-7).