Today History SPOT is one month old.  I can’t believe that it has been that long already.  Of course the platform is still in beta mode as we iron out some outstanding bugs and issues.  We still need to implement the search engine throughout the site and there are various theme issues still to be resolved.  For a while there was a minor issue with the log-in system which (I hope) has now been fully resolved.   However, we are rapidly heading towards a full launch which is fantastic news. 

In the meantime History SPOT is doing well.  In this one month period we have had 1,175 visits of whom have spent an average of 5 minutes on the site at any given time. 

Part of the point of History SPOT is to better achieve our mandate as a national and international institution by bringing our core activities to a wider audience.  So far we have had visits from (in order of most visitors to least) the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Greece, Mexico, New Zealand. 

So far the least visited part of the site is the Collaborate section, however, to be fair this section is yet to be fully utilised in-house so hopefully in time that situation will begin to change.  I would, however, recommend spending a bit of time in the Collaborate section.  Creating a profile for yourself is easy and there is the opportunity to discuss seminars further in the Groups portion of the site as well as on the podcast pages themselves.   

The launch in September of course also coincided with the beginning of a new semester and thus we have been churning out seminar podcasts at the rate of about four a week (give or take).  These have so far ranged from a discussion on the freedom of information in relation to archives and libraries to sessions on London (specifically the Survey of London project and a discussion of the Bishop of London’s fund).  We have also had two talks on historiographical matters – specifically about the eighteenth century and Mexican Nationalism.  We have also added podcasts from this year’s Anglo-American conference on the topic of Health in History which can also be found on the ever popular i-Tunes U site. 

In two days time History SPOT will play host to our first live stream of the new semester; two sessions from a workshop on the topic of Locating London’s past: a geo-referencing tool for mapping historical and archaeological evidence, 1660-1800.  Last year the live streams were highly successful and fun to take part in and we therefore plan to do many more this year.  We also have plans to improve the service in the near future now that proof of concept has been validated (more on that when I can).

I’m rapidly working my way through this year’s seminar podcasts and a few stragglers from last year to post up as the focus for future SPOT Newsletters.  Please bear with me as I get back into a rhythm with these.  The launch of History SPOT alongside some exciting work connected to our upcoming November conference Novel Approaches: from academic history to historical fiction, is keeping me busy.  It is probably worth stating that there are still spaces available for that conference, which should be both interesting and fun.  I can’t think of many topics for historical conferences that quite inspire the imagination like one on the topic of historical fiction and its relationship to academic history.  So if you have not already done so please do have a look at our conference programme!

That’s all from me for now.  If anyone has any thoughts or comments on History SPOT that they would like to share please do so here (or on History SPOT itself).  All comments are very welcome especially at this early stage.

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