Wed, Sep 6, 2017

Mapping Omaha Bikes

I’ve been getting a bit involved with bicycle advocacy in Omaha, especially now that I’m starting to commute to work by bike. As part of this, I wondered about the safey of bicyclists and pedestrians in the city. So, I threw together a small R Shiny application for exploring pedestrian and bicycling accidents in Omaha. It’s a fairly simple application, using some data provided by the Nebraska Department of Roads. You can find all of the code and data on Github. Continue reading →

Fri, Aug 18, 2017

Arguing with Digital History

This is the piece I wrote for the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media's Arguing with Digital History workshop, being held September 15-16, 2017. A draft of this talk is versioned on Github, which will also likely include the most up-to-date version of this essay. First, a loose definition of “digital history”: I take digital history to mean a variety of approaches to using computational, visual, and informational methods in analyzing, visualizing, and presenting historical analysis and arguments. Continue reading →

Wed, Jul 5, 2017

Standing up for Net Neutrality

In 2012, I took my site down in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). It’s time to stand up again. Why we need net neutrality from Vimeo Staff on Vimeo. We have just a few days left to contact Congress and the FCC on plans to dismantle net neutrality rules that were put in place two years ago. These rules ensure that internet service providers—Comcast, Verizon, and others—cannot block or throttle individual websites, charge fees for premium delivery, or favor their own content. Continue reading →

Mon, Jun 19, 2017

Recent Updates on Data Visualization

Just a few updates on some data visualization work I’ve either been taking in or working on: Projects I recently posted a map I created some time ago in the aftermath of the Malheur occupation. It’s similar to the map I created in R, but built in D3.js instead. Following the 2017 elections, I created a simple interactive map and dumbbell chart of midwestern votes for president. I don’t think I ever advertised it on Twitter, so I’m noting it here. Continue reading →

Tue, Jun 6, 2017

Mapping Midwest

The slides for my talk at the Midwestern History Association conference are now online. This week I am delivering a keynote address at the Midwestern History Association conference, where I’ll be making the case for the creation of a Midwestern atlas. There has been no published historical atlas of the Midwest that explores the region’s history. There are some states of the Midwest that have been given focus in historical atlases, such as Kansas, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Continue reading →

Tue, May 23, 2017


Next week, June 1 and 2, I am a site host and project leader for Mozilla’s Global Sprint, a fast-paced, two-day event to hack and build projects for a healthy Internet. Our site will be at the Community Engagement Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and focusing on two projects. Omaha Parks: Piggy-backing a bit on some of the issues raised during Endangered Data Week, I’m interested in open data and civic engagement. Continue reading →

Mon, Apr 24, 2017

Introducing Endangered Data Week

Last week, April 17-21, was the first annual Endangered Data Week. With the generous support of the Digital Library Federation, CLIR, the Mozilla Science Lab, and Data Refuge, we launched this international effort to help raise awareness around the creation, retention, and sustainability of data and data collection efforts. The effort was the brainchild of Brandon Locke of Michigan State University, and quickly gained support from many of us across university campuses, nonprofit organizations, libraries, citizen science initiatives, and cultural heritage institutions. Continue reading →

Sat, Dec 31, 2016

Digital History at the AHA: Workshops, Roundtables, Sessions

Next Thursday I’ll be teaching a workshop on network analysis for historians. You can find the schedule and material for the workshop online. In addition to the workshop, I’ll be part of the Digital History Table Talks lunch plenary and the digital drop-in session that afternoon. On Thursday afternoon, I’ll be chairing a panel with Brandon Locke, Kalani Craig, and Lauren Tilton on historical sources as data. Come check us out! Continue reading →

Thu, Sep 22, 2016


Before 2013, I hadn’t spent much time in California, aside from a few trips to Los Angeles. Truth be told, there wasn’t much I liked about Los Angeles. One of my strongest memories—probably of no shock to LA natives—is sitting in traffic trying to drive just five miles that took a half hour to complete. Who would ever want to live around this kind of traffic?1 But California beckoned. I was offered a job. Continue reading →

Fri, Aug 26, 2016

Syllabus for Teaching Digital Public History

This fall quarter I am teaching my digital history course. You can find the draft of the syllabus here. While the title of the course hasn’t changed since the last time I taught it, I’ve made two substantial changes to the overall structure of the course. First, the course focuses more heavily on public history instead of a range of digital methodologies. Part of this is self-serving—I’ve always wanted to teach a public history course, and the opportunity to combine public and digital was a welcome opportunity. Continue reading →

History and other distractions since 2008. View all posts by date, or an index of posts by category.


Greetings! My name is Jason Heppler. I am a Digital Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a scholar of the twentieth-century United States. I often write here about the history of the North American West, technology, the environment, politics, culture, and coffee. You can follow me on Twitter, or learn more about me.