A New Look for the History Cooperative Web Site

Robert B. Townsend, September 2003

The History Cooperative web site will have a fresh look for the new academic year. The new design will make using the site easier and more intuitive, whether readers are seeking a specific article or searching for scholarship on a particular subject.

The design changes will give greater prominence to the search function to facilitate better use of the site. The redesign also provides a simple list of the participating journals to provide direct access to specific titles and their available issues. While this will greatly improve movement through the site, the changes are designed in such a way that previous bookmarks and links to specific pages and articles will still work.

The new, streamlined design was necessitated by recent rapid growth of the site. The Cooperative crossed some important milestones over the summer, as the staff at the University of Illinois Press (UIP), which hosts the site, reported the 100th issue published on the site and more than two million visitors served over the past 12 months. Traffic to the site more than doubled over the previous year, averaging 168,299 visitors a month between July 1, 2002, and June 30, 2003.

The Cooperative also welcomed three new journals to the fold, Environmental History, the Journal of World History, and Oregon Historical Quarterly. The first online issue for each of these journals should be available by the time you read this.

The Cooperative is also expanding to provide more information and access to history scholarship on the web. A new "History Hotlinks" section provides pointers to other collections of online history journals and history departments the world over. Through the fall, staff at UIP will be adding additional resources, including links to the ACLS History E-Book project and Gutenberg-e, as well as other models of online scholarship.M/p>

The Cooperative already serves as significant point of access to history scholarship online. The June 2003 issue of JSTOR News reported that the History Cooperative is the third highest source of traffic to their site, in any field, with more than 57,583 researchers connecting to the JSTOR from the Cooperative in 2002. Links to JSTOR allow basic searches across the entire run of the American Historical Review, as well as the Journal of American History, and the William and Mary Quarterly.

Given the vast expansion of services over the past three years, the Cooperative staff decided the site's basic design and structure needed to be revised to keep pace with all that is now available. "Basically, the site had outgrown the initial design," reported Paul Arroyo, electronic publisher at UIP.

The History Cooperative was formed in March 2000 by the AHA, the Organization of American Historians, the University of Illinois Press, and the National Academy Press. Since then the Cooperative has added the History Teacher, Law and History Review, Western Historical Quarterly, the William and Mary Quarterly, Common-Place, Labour/Le Travail, Labour History, and Journal of Education History. They have recently been joined by Environmental History, the Journal of World History, and Oregon Historical Society.

Access to the actual content is still restricted. To access AHR articles on the Cooperative you need to be a member of the AHA (and know your membership number) or have access through a subscribing institution. Nonmembers can purchase a two-hour "research pass" for $10, which will allow them to search, read, and print articles from any and all of the journals on the site. Likewise, access to content on the JSTOR site is limited to members of subscribing institutions and AHA members who obtain the JSTOR subscription option that comes with membership for an added $15.

The Cooperative will continue to grow in the coming year, with three new journals slated to join within the next 12 months and plans to publish conference papers within the next six months.

—Robert Townsend is assistant director for research and publications at the AHA..