The Programming Historian

The Programming Historian

“The Programming Historian” is a tutorial-style introduction to programming for practicing historians. We assume that you’re starting out with no prior programming experience and only a basic understanding of computers. To some extent, this book is an extended conversation about the degree to which future historians will need to be able to program in order to do their jobs.


More experience, of course, won’t hurt. Once you know how to program, you will find it relatively easy to learn new programming languages and techniques, and to apply what you know in unfamiliar situations. In order to get you to that point we’ve adopted the following strategy. We also hope, of course, that if you work through the book you’ll learn techniques that make you a better historian.

Table of Contents

  • Do You Need to Learn How to Program?
  • Getting Started
  • Working with Files and Web Pages
  • From HTML to a List of Words
  • Computing Frequencies
  • Wrapping output in HTML
  • Keyword in Context (KWIC)
  • Tag Clouds
  • Harvesting Links and Downloading Pages
  • Indexing a Document Collection
  • Discussion of the Programming Historian
  • Peer Reviewers
  • Additional Resources

Book Details

Author(s): William J. Turkel and alan MacEachern
Format(s): HTML, PDF
File size: 1.86 MB
Number of pages: 74
Link: Read online.

One Response to “The Programming Historian”

  1. For those interested, the 2nd edition of this book has now been released and is available online at


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