Tuten's Quick Guide to Writing for the History Engine
This sheet is meant to be a slim and fast resource as you research and draft your episodes. See the "For Students" section of the HE website for detailed style guide and advice.
- Episodes must be clearly written in the past tense.
- Episodes must be factually correct.
- Episodes must include at least one primary and at least one secondary source (the secondary source must be a book or article). Quote from the primary source!
- Episodes are brief in the one to two page range (250-500 words).
Unlike most history papers you write, the HE episodes don't use citations of individual quotes or facts. You have to write in such a way that the source of quotations is pretty obvious (e.g. The imminent historian of colonial firewood, Dave Hsiung said, "fire wood helps you to stay warm"). The bibliography takes Chicago style and should be submitted as a list.
Titles should be pretty specific and probably should contain a suggestion of the action (i.e. a verb). Do not write titles that try to be the last word on an event (e.g. not "The Battle of Gettysburg" but, "A Pennsylvania private fights at Little Round Top"). This leaves room for many perspectives on an event.
A tag is an identifying handle or "keyword": a way of categorizing the content of each episode. These tags are essential to making episodes easily accessible and searchable on the History Engine website. Each episode should have at least two tags. There are a number of available tags in the database already but you may create your own tags if you think those are insufficient. Some examples of tags include:
African-Americans, Agriculture, Arts/Leisure, Church/Religious-Activity, Law, Crime/Violence, Diplomacy/International, Economy, Education, Government, Health/Death, Migration/Transportation, Native-Americans, Politics, Race-Relations, Science/Technology, Slavery, Urban-Life/Boosterism, War, Women
The number one thing you can do is to read episodes on the HE as examples.
Submitting Episodes for Review
Each episode must have:
- A title at the top
- The historical date
- Location(s) of episode
- Appropriate tags
- The episode narrative