Hist 1906: Digital Atlas Design Internship

Thursdays, 3-5 PM

World History Center, Posvar Hall, Room 3900


Dr. Nathan Michalewicz
Dr. Ruth Mostern
Office Hours and Location

Thursdays, 12-3 PM
Posvar Hall, Room 3900 or 3520


The Digital Atlas Design Internship supports student research by teaching interns how to use digital tools and methods to explore the global past. Students manage a semester-long independent research project using an interactive, public-facing platform that utilizes GIS and web design skills gained during the internship. Students engage with both world history and digital humanities while developing a spatial database about a topic of their choosing. Experience with digital methods or GIS is not necessary, and students can receive publication credit for their work.


  • By the end of this internship, students will be able to:
    • Define GIS and HGIS
    • Use ArcMap and QGIS
    • Differentiate, analyze, and create Vector and Raster data
    • Obtain GIS information from various sources
    • Apply geospatial tools to historical questions
  • Students will combine the above skills to serve the two main objectives of the course:
    • Populating a gallery of atlases based on QGIS and ESRI StoryMaps. Student contributions will blend writing, images, georeferenced historical maps, and authored maps.
    • Supporting student research and expanding student skills. Students will spend an entire semester managing an independent project. They will expand their GIS and web design skills. They will also work with world history and digital humanities methodologies. In the end, students will have projects to list on their résumés and in portfolios.

Required Materials

This course assumes that students have a computer, or access to one, during the practicum. If this is not the case, please see the instructor.

Students will be required to purchase a Reclaim Hosting (reclaimhosting.com) subscription ($35) for hosting their digital presence and posting each week’s practicum in blog form. We will go over this subscription and how to set up WordPress on the platform on the first day of class.


  • Weekly Practicum:
    • Every week each student will post a response to the practicum in blog form to their website hosted on Reclaim Hosting. These blog posts will be due the Monday following class.
  • Final Project:
    • Each student will produce an independent project using ESRI’s StoryMaps platform. The final project will be housed on the World History server at Pitt as part of the growing digital atlas project. To facilitate this, all data and your final project will be licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, ODbL, or another open-access license. If this is not possible, then some alternative will be worked out with the instructor.