The IsisCB, a Collaborative Bibliography

Last year witnessed some exciting changes in the IsisCB. As reported in the most recent HSS Newsletter, I now have new collaborators, scholars in the field who are working with me to enrich the content of the bibliography. I’ve started two different kinds of collaborations. First, I’ve begun working with Bruce Seely, a historian of technology at Michigan Tech, who is using the IsisCB system to curate the bibliography for the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). Second, I’ve instituted a new program of Contributing Editors; these are scholars who have agreed to spend a little time each month on the IsisCB to help me find entries in specific language and subject areas. Both projects are yielding fruit.

Last year, I added over 1000 entries that Seely collected for SHOT, representing work he did in 2016 and 2017. He will continue the effort, adding five to six hundred citations on history of technology each year.

Zoom meeting among collaborating bibliographers and IsisCB staff in 2018.

The collaboration with other editors is also reaping benefits. I’m joined by Francesco Luzzini, affiliate scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (MPIWG), Helge Wendt, research fellow at MPIWG, Didi van Trijp, a third-year PhD student at Leiden University, and Thomas Horst, postdoc fellow at the Interuniversity Centre for the History of Science and Technology, University of Lisbon. This team of young scholars is helping me collect items in three language areas—Italian (Luzzini), German (Wendt), and Dutch (van Trijp)—as well as the content area of cartography (Horst).

Today, we had our first virtual meeting of the year over Zoom to coordinate, discuss questions, and talk about the challenges of collecting and editing bibliography in the twenty-first century.

I should say a couple of words about the Contributing Editor program. These editors are asked to serve for a two-year, renewable term. I ask them to devote a few hours each month to collecting material for the bibliography and in return for their service, they are acknowledged in the publication and here online, and are provided with a complementary subscription to the journal Isis for the term of their service.  I am continually interested in finding editors in new areas, so please contact me if you think you would like to join the team. You can find out more about the program on the Contributing Editors page of this blog.