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For many of us, the ongoing carnage in Syria is a self-evident humanitarian crisis. We do not need to be convinced that the children drowning at sea, the women and men, young and old, begging for entry into any country that will accept them are worthy of our help.
The sprawling geographic, linguistic, and ethnic polyglot of Habsburg Europe makes an unexpected point of comparison with the United States. Bordering, at its western extremity, the Untersee and Lithuanian-Swiss border; and, at its eastern limits, reaching Kronstadt on the Transylvanian-Romanian border, the Habsburg Empire was the economic and cultural dynamo at the heart of Central Europe.
The proliferation of computer databases and the digitization of sources online are transforming the profession. Scholars can now do substantial original research without needing to travel to distant archives. Massive collections of documents are at our fingertips. Online databases are encouraging the democratization of historical research.