Digital research skills courses

Building and using databases for historical research

The aim of this training course is to equip you with the skills required to build and use a relational database suited to historical research. Creating databases can be a relatively simple process, especially with today’s desktop software, which is geared to offering help at every stage; with a little bit of extra effort additional functionality can be built into the ‘database application’ which will enable it to form the most valuable and powerful of customised research tools. Entering data into the database can be a time-consuming endeavour, but if it is done correctly into a well-designed database then the potential improvements offered in terms of information management and analysis more than repays the effort. This course continues from the free online course Designing databases for historical research.

Data preservation (free course)

Consideration of data preservation should be at the core of what researchers do, not just to make sure that you don’t lose your research data, or can’t find what you are after, once you have been away from it for a while, but if you wish also to make it available to other researchers in the future. This course guides you through the minefield that is data preservation and gives you handy tips as to how you can include it in your day to day work without it seeming like a chore.

Databases for historians

Course date(s): 
31 Oct 2017 to 3 Nov 2017
10 Apr 2018 to 13 Apr 2018
7 Aug 2018 to 10 Aug 2018

This 4-day course is an introduction to the theory and practice of constructing and using databases. Taught via a mixture of formal lectures and 'hands-on' practical classes, the session will introduce a wide range of skills and techniques, showing how to design and build a database appropriate to the needs of your project, and illustrating how this will help to guide and expand your analysis.

Day for new research students

Course date(s): 
26 Sep 2017

The Institute of Historical Research is delighted to welcome those commencing research degrees in history and related disciplines in London, the South East and throughout the UK. Over the course of an afternoon, we shall introduce the IHR and its remit to assist and promote historical research of all sorts. Join us for lunch and then learn about our library, seminars, conferences, publications, website and training in specialised research skills and how they can help you. Hear also about the History Lab, the postgraduate support network run by and for those undertaking research degrees in history. Free to all new research students in history and in historical subjects from other disciplines.

Designing databases for historical research (free course)

This free module provides an overview of important concepts both in terms of the historical data that might be used in databases and in terms of the design process. The module takes the form of a handbook, broken down into chapter headings and acts as the preliminary module for the Building and using databases for historical research online course.

Historical Mapping and Geographical Information Systems

Course date(s): 
11 Sep 2017 to 12 Sep 2017
11 Jan 2018 to 12 Jan 2018

The ‘spatial turn’ is now well established in history and scholars, publishers and readers now frequently expect to see space to be used as a category of analysis, maps used as sources, and research illustrated with custom maps. However, without training in geographical techniques, tools, and even terminology, it can be challenging for historians to begin to work with this material. This two day course is designed to first introduce the history and concepts of mapping, along with the most basic ways of producing your own maps, before then moving on to a second day focusing on QGIS, the widely-used open-source GIS software package.

Internet for historical research

Course date(s): 
30 Nov 2017
1 Mar 2018
4 Jun 2018

This intensive one-day workshop will equip students with the knowledge and skills to use the internet with confidence as a tool for historical research. It introduces the principal online resources available to historical researchers, and shows how to make best use of them in pursuit of primary sources and secondary literature. Suitable for those at any stage of an academic career who wish to build or refresh their skills, the course covers English-language material for British, European and world history from late antiquity to the present.

Text: how to get it, create it or change it automatically

Course date(s): 
10 Nov 2016
This three-hour course will be an introduction to automating the tedious and time-consuming text processing tasks cannot be done manually or would take many hours. We will discuss text formats and structure and then go on to introduce tools for working with many files or very large files, including a basic introduction to regular expressions. The course will show you how you can search for and alter patterns of text, how to extract particular types of information that you are interested in, how to add structure or convert from one format to another, and generally how to make your life easier. We will show you the power of a good text editor and the command line.