The Programming Historian

Scroll this

William J. Turkel and Alan MacEachern, The Programming Historian, 1st ed. NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment (2007-11).

Programming Historian 1 – PDF Version

2 February 2012. A Japanese translation of the first edition of the Programming Historian is now available from Shigeki Moro, an associate professor of Hanazono University, Kyoto, Japan.

28 November 2012. We’re looking for people to help us with a new edition of The Programming Historian that will be peer-reviewed and open to user contributions. See What’s Next for the Programming Historian for more information, and e-mail WJ Turkel for more information or to get involved.

The Programming Historian offers a range of lessons that build upon one another. Introductory lessons teach you how to:

  • install Zotero, the Python programming language and other useful tools
  • read and write data files
  • save web pages and automatically extract information from them
  • count word frequencies
  • remove stop words
  • automatically refine searches
  • make n-gram dictionaries
  • create keyword-in-context (KWIC) displays
  • make tag clouds, and
  • harvest sets of hyperlinks

There is a source code repository for the first edition of The Programming Historian at GitHub.

If you are completely new to online research, check out Going Digital. If you are looking for a digital research workflow that does not require any programming, there is one here.

This edition is currently closed to further changes. Thank you to everyone who helped us improve it with their questions and suggestions. We still welcome your questions and comments.


NiCHE encourages comments and constructive discussion of our articles. We reserve the right to delete comments that fail to meet our guidelines including comments under aliases, or that contain spam, harassment, or attacks on an individual.