Mobile Historians: The Environmental History App Project

Last December, NiCHE announced the results of its fourth annual call for projects and we were awarded funding to develop an environmental history mobile application for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad). The EH App Project will develop a mobile application to help connect the environmental history research community to the growing body of online content, including news, calls-for-papers, blogs, and podcasts.

Since 2004, the Network in Canadian History & Environment has led the historical research community in Canada in the use of online digital technologies. The proposed project will continue that tradition by broadening the reach of the network into the mobile internet through the development of an environmental history mobile application.

Today very few academic historical organizations, other than NiCHE, have successfully established a network of scholars connected by online digital technologies. Beginning with the use of Groove and later the Drupal-based NiCHE website, the network has been able to foster a growing environmental history research community across a vast geography. NiCHE stands out as the only environmental history organization to offer its members Web 2.0 services on its website, including user-generated content and rich audio and video media. In addition to its web services, NiCHE has also innovated in the areas of virtual conferencing, podcasting, blogging, and much more.

One of the fastest areas of online growth is in the development of the mobile internet and mobile applications. Wireless home internet use in Canada rose from 13% in 2007 to 23% in 2010 (Statistics Canada, May 2010). With the growth in the popularity of smartphones, including Blackberry, iPhone, and Android devices, NiCHE has the opportunity to reach new audiences and connect members in new ways by taking advantage of mobile connectivity.

Over the next year, we will be working on this application development project and we hope to get help and feedback from the community along the way. What kind of features would you use in a mobile application for environmental historians? Are there important blogs, podcasts, and news sources that we should include in this app? What should we call this app? Please post your comments and suggestions to this page or contact me directly through Twitter at You can also contact my partner on this project, Dr. Jim Clifford through Twitter at

For ongoing updates about this project, please subscribe to this page or follow me on Twitter where I will post announcements and calls for feedback.

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