Digital Atlas Design Internship

The Pitt World History Center launched the Digital Atlas Design Internship in 2017 with three objectives in mind:

  1. Populating a Gallery of Atlases.  Each Atlas, created with QGIS and ESRI StoryMap blends writing, images, narrative, georeferenced historical maps, and interactive authored maps to communicate about some phenomenon or event in the global or transregional past, and each spring, interns present their Atlases at the World History Center open house.
  2. Supporting student research and expanding student skills. Interns learn to communicate about the past in an interactive, spatial, and public-friendly format. They manage a semester-long independent project. They practice GIS and web design skills and complete projects that they can include on resumés and in portfolios. They engage with both world history and digital humanities, and they receive publication credit for their work.
  3. Expanding a data network.  Behind each Atlas is a spatial database about a topic in the global or transregional past which can be incorporated into the World Historical Gazetteer, a linked open data global index of historically important place names and information about them. Each student Atlas is also a credited micropublication to the Gazetteer.

As of September 2018, nine students have completed the Digital Atlas Design Internship.
View their work »

Information for Content Advisors

Students who enroll in the Digital Atlas Design Internship for academic credit receive guidance from three individuals. 

  • The World History Center Digital History Postdoctoral Fellow is the student’s main point of contact.  The postdoc serves the role of site supervisor: teaching skills, setting standards, monitoring progress, ensuring attendance, and confirming completion. 
  • The World History Center Director serves the role of academic advisor: guiding the student through the learning process, supervising the experience, and providing a final grade of Pass or Not Pass.
  • The Content Advisor is a member of the Pitt faculty who has expertise in the student’s research area. 

Content Advisors do not provide hands-on instruction or submit a final grade. They are expected to meet with the student three times throughout the semester. At the beginning of the semester, Content Advisors recommend resources (maps, data tables, books, et cetera) to launch students’ research. At mid-semester, Content Advisors review the work in progress and offer suggestions and corrections. Near the end of the semester, Content Advisors review a draft of the project and offer advice for final steps.  Content Advisors should expect to make a time commitment of no more than five hours during the whole semester. 

Please keep in mind that this is a one semester undergraduate research project.  For example, a perfectly acceptable result would be for a student to take one or two primary sources, map relevant locations, and produce a limited write up.  View examples of previous projects.

Find more information about Internships for Credit.

Content Advisors will be added to the internship Courseweb site to track how their work fits into the context of the entire internship experience. Here is an example syllabus for the internship.

For more information about the Digital Atlas Design Internship, please contact