This page explains the student project for J. B. Owens's fall 2002 upper-division undergraduate and graduate course, History 360/560, The Spanish Empire. This course is part of the core curriculum in comparative and world history of the Department of History, Idaho State University. The sole purpose of this page, and all of the related pages on this server that are linked to it, is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 360/560.

You may return to the course main page or to the syllabus.

The Spanish Empire: Student Project

Due date: at the beginning of class on Tuesday, 19 November.

This page explains the student research project for J. B. Owens's fall 2002 upper-division and graduate level course The Spanish Empire. Questions and comments may be sent to me at my e-mail address (, or if you prefer, you may send me a message now by selecting this button: Mail Now. If you use the latter option, be sure to include your name and e-mail address in the text of your message.

The Place

This project will allow you to master some of the interlocal, interactive networks that were created and developed during the first global age, 1400-1800 C.E. This course focuses on the activities of officials and subjects of Iberian monarchs, particularly the rulers of Castile and Portugal, who played majors roles in the development of many of these networks. Many of these people lived and worked in the domains outside of the Iberian Peninsula, and the majority would never set foot in Europe.

You will first select a place on which you would like to do research from the suggested list of locations. Because only one student will be allowed to work on a particular location, we will have a lottery during the first class session to determine the order of selection. If you have extensive experience with some relevant location, I will, as much as possible, reserve that place for you.

The Dataset

You will produce a dataset, which describes the routes that linked your assigned location with other places. Your dataset will take the form described on the page Old World Trade Routes (OWTRAD): Notation System, developed by Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek of The Australian National University, Canberra.

For your dataset, you will provide adequate metadata (data about data), using the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative standard. You can see how your metadata will appear by looking at any of the OWTRAD datasets prepared with Dr. Ciolek's notational system: for example, see Spanish Pilgrimage Routes dataset. If you wish a quick look at another type of metadata, using the Dublin Core standard, simple view the source page for this text (select View and then Page Source, if you are using a Netscape browser). If you wish more information, look at this Frequently Asked Questions file.

With your dataset, you will also contribute gazetteer data, which will become part of the overall gazetteer of the datasets for the class. To see what this gazetteer will look like, examine the Gazetteer of georeferenced nodes of long-distance communication routes.

To start you on your way, you will use the Alexandria Digital Library (ADL) Gazetteer Server to determine the geographic coordinates of your assigned location. You will print two copies of your results, and you will submit one of those (put your name on the page) to me at the beginning of class on Tuesday, 3 September. During the first class session, on Tuesday, 27 August, you will receive instruction about how to do this part of your project.

When you submit your dataset, you will also submit a short essay in which you will explain how the economic, political, and cultural interactions made possible by these routes helped shape the history of your selected location. Citations in this essay must correspond to the standards of the bibliography and citation style and plagiarism pages.

To explain more fully the technical aspects of your research, and the reasons for doing such work, you will be given, during the first class on Tuesday, 27 August, a copy of J. B. Owens and T. Matthew Ciolek, "Routes: Assembling Data About the Connective Tissue of a Global Monarchy" [Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies: Bulletin 27,1 (spring-summer 2002): 12-22].


A preliminary bibliography, in ASCII ("plain text," "DOS text") for your project must be sent to my e-mail address ( by 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 September. You must include at least FIVE relevant articles from scholarly journals. I have provided a partial list of relevant scholarly journals in the ISU collection. The bibliographic form must correspond to the course style sheet. Failure to submit this bibliography on time will give you a GRADE OF "0" for the project as a whole.

You should discuss with a reference librarian at the ISU library what resources are available to compile a bibliography about your assigned location during the period 1350-1825 and how you should design an effective bibliographic search strategy.

For those working on Latin American locations, you may wish to use the Handbook of Latin American Studies, which the ISU library also as on CD-ROM. Although the latter version is not current, it is still quite useful for this project because among the best sources will be various "travel" accounts, many of which were published long enough ago to be indexed in the HLAS.

In addition to using the ISU library catalog, you will also find it useful to do a subject search of major research collections with outstanding holdings related to your assigned location. For example:

If you locate an item, which is not held by ISU but which appears particularly useful for building your dataset, a description of a journey through the place, for example, carefully note all of the relevant bibliographic information, the call number, and the name of the holding library. You will need this information to request the item through the Interlibrary Loan service of the ISU library. Notice the "Request" button on the upper right side of the ISU library catalog page.

You may also find it useful to consult online archives of historical maps. For example, see the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection and the Discovery and Exploration section of the Library of Congress American Memory project.

Due Dates and Project Reports

This dataset is due, in digital form, at the beginning of class on 19 November. This project will be worth roughly 15% of your final grade.

NOTE: Periodically throughout the semester, you will be required to submit partial project reports to me and to the Spanish Empire discussion list.

Because you must begin work on the project immediately, we will discuss it in class on Tuesday, 3 September. Prior to this class, therefore, you MUST have read this page, the Course Analytical Approach, the Old World Trade Routes (OWTRAD): Notation System, and J. B. Owens and T. Matthew Ciolek, "Routes: Assembling Data About the Connective Tissue of a Global Monarchy" [Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies: Bulletin 27,1 (spring-summer 2002): 12-22; distributed in class on 27 August].


For this course, there are strict standards, explained in the three pages linked to the next paragraph, for essay content and form, for the style of bibliography entries and notes, and for the citation of any words or ideas that are not your own. Because failure to observe these standards precisely will lower significantly your grade on the assigned work involved (to "0" in the case of plagiarism), make sure you come to the class on 10 September PREPARED TO SEEK CLARIFICATION of anything on these three pages that you do not understand.

Before the class session on 10 September, read carefully the pages on essay evaluation standards, on bibliography and citation style, and on plagiarism. It is particularly important that you understand the page on plagiarism because you will be submitting your examination essays in digital form, which makes it easy to detect plagiarism through digital searching techniques.

You may return to the main course page.

All contents copyright © 1995-2002.
J. B. Owens
All rights reserved.

Revised: 22 August 2002