Reviews in History, the online journal of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), publishes its 1,000th review this month. Launched in 1996, Reviews covers books and digital resources across every area of historical interest, with all reviews being undertaken by leading experts in the field. It has always been noted for its broad scope, chronologically, geographically and thematically. It now publishes a new issue every week on its recently redesigned website (http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews), each featuring four original reviews.
From the start, the journal has published reviews of greater length than those usually found in scholarly periodicals (between 2,000 and 3,000 words), and as a consequence of its digital-only format has also been able to make them available much earlier. Reviews also allows authors and editors a right of reply, stimulating discussion and providing readers with an insight into the major debates occurring at the cutting edge of historical research. The reviews are freely available and enjoy a large and growing readership, from academics to the wider public interested in history. They provide an invaluable resource for researching, teaching and studying history at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Dr Jane Winters, Head of Publications at the IHR, said, “Reviews in History was a truly innovative digital publishing initiative when it was launched in 1996 and there is still nothing quite like it in the field. It enshrined the authorial right to reply more than a decade before humanities researchers began seriously to challenge traditional forms of peer review in the digital environment, and made full use of the flexibility of the digital medium. The journal is a central element of the IHR’s publishing programme, and we very much look forward to the publication of the next 1,000 reviews. If Reviews continues as it has developed thus far, the 2,000th article may well look very different.”
In recent months particular effort has been made to focus on the expanding number of digital resources in history, with reviews being commissioned to examine not just the content but the functionality and operability of these tools now transforming the historian’s craft. Initially funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in 1996, Reviews is now supported by IHR core funding, reflecting its centrality to the Institute’s research facilitation remit. It is a striking example of external seed-corn funding leading to long-term sustainability in the digital sphere.
Recent reviews of books related to the Middle Ages include:
The World Before Domesday: The English Aristocracy 900–1066
Law and Kinship in Thirteenth-Century England
Dominion of God: Christendom and Apocalypse in the Middle Ages
Beauty and the Male Body in Byzantium: Perceptions and Representations in Art and Text
Source: Institute of Historical Research