I’m pleased to announce my latest endeavour to teach historians how to program computers in aid of their research has been published and is freely available on the Programming Historian 2 website.
Full Lesson: Downloading Multiple Records Using Query Strings
The hands-on lesson builds upon some introductory Python tutorials also available on the site and is intended to teach practicing historians how to use Python to discriminately download a copy of sources found in scholarly databases to their own computer for further processing. Thanks to Fred Gibbs, Miriam Posner, and Sara Palmer for their assistance working the lesson into shape. The abstract is available below:
Downloading a single record from a website is easy, but downloading many records at a time – an increasingly frequent need for a historian – is much more efficient using a programming language such as Python. In this lesson, we will write a program that will download a series of records from the Old Bailey Online using custom search criteria, and save them to a directory on our computer. This process involves interpreting and manipulating URL Query Strings. In this case, the tutorial will seek to download sources that contain references to people of African descent that were published in the Old Bailey Proceedings between 1700 and 1750.