Project SP16g: Historical geography coding: A geography of US Naval Contracts, 1870-1900

Project SP16g: Historical geography coding: A geography of US Naval Contracts, 1870-1900

Researcher: Andrew Marshall

Position type: data entry/coding; possible GIS work

Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jauary 13, 2016

Application URL:

Position description

In the age before defense authorization budgets, the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy was the main way naval operations were broadcast to politicians, military and naval officers, and the general public. While some of the materials that led to these final contracts have not been preserved, the annual reports remain intact. From the 1870s through the Spanish-American War of 1898, the U.S. Navy drastically shifted how it was run and the way it acquired its supplies and war materiel. Technological shifts towards steam and steel and operational desires to build a first-class, global navy all contributed to this. This research opportunity will lay the groundwork for a multi-semester coding of the reports. Using a Google spreadsheet the UROC student will assist the graduate researcher in coding all contracts offered and bid on between 1870 and 1898. This will allow for more detailed coding of individual bids by individual firms in subsequent semesters. The reports are all available online through the Penn State Library’s LEXIS-NEXIS access. Being in State College is not required; World Campus students are welcome to apply. The graduate student supervising this position will be in State College intermittently. For these reasons, it is expected the UROC student can effectively research with remote, indirect supervision.

Desired qualifications

Students interested in historical geography, history, political science, or international relations may find this UROC of interest; however, no specific major or skill set is needed, unless applicant wishes to get involved in GIS-related activities. Candidates must be well-organized, able to work independently, and communicate effectively using technology. Candidates must be willing to contribute 40–80 total hours of work toward the project over the semester, resulting in 1–2 credit hours applied to the transcript. There is no monetary stipend attached to this assistantship, although the experiences gained in this work will be immediately valuable when applying for graduate school or full-time employment.

To apply

Prospective candidates should complete the application form at by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. Follow all instructions.