Response Paper: History in a Digital Age

For the next couple weeks we’re going to take what we’ve learned about the discipline of history and ask how it functions in a digital age. To start the conversation, submit a 300-word response according to the following guidelines no later than noon on Wednesday, February 22nd. I’ll then share a few excerpts from selected responses and have you do your first round of blog comments before class on Friday.

PREPARATION

1. Read the introduction to Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. What do they see as the advantages (and problems) of digitization for historians?

2. That book was written just over ten years ago… Look for the themes they raised by visiting at least two more recent digital history projects: first, the Bethel University Digital Library; and second, one of the projects listed on this Google Doc.

WRITING

By noon on Wednesday, upload to Moodle a 300-word response paper in which you draw on your reading of Cohen/Rosenzweig and the two digital history projects you visited in order to answer the following questions:

Cohen and Rosenzweig envisioned several possibilities and problems when they wrote their book on digital history in 2005. Discuss two of their central themes as you saw them, over a decade later, in the digital history projects you visited.

Or… is there anything that’s happened since 2005 that makes their observations obsolete? Are there significant themes in digital history today that they didn’t foresee in 2005?

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One thought on “Response Paper: History in a Digital Age

  1. A obvious and primary central theme in Cohen and Rosenzwieg’s introduction to Digital History was certainly the accessibility of the history itself. At the time of their writing, more than half of internet users had purchased or ran a website or some sort of blog. It is certainly mind boggling how vast the opportunity for personal study of history is because of access on the internet. A second central theme I picked up on were the variety of ways to engage in digital history, you have the opportunity to see it in the form of imagery, or art, music, and literature. Today, digital history is available in such a wide range of capacities that no matter your interests, it is likely that you will be able to find something that you yourself are deeply interested in, online. For me personally, my passion and love for reformation history is deeply available for me to partake in because of online platforms that provide for me a vast array of historical documents, ATLA being a fantastic example. Photogrammar is a great example of a unique resource for you to engage in a variety of digital history, having photographs being the primary outlet for this specific website. Bracero’s history archive is another online source that hosts images, as well as oral histories, documents, and a variety of other contributed items. For this resource, the consumer has a variety of different and equally intriguing opportunities to engage in for their study of history. I find the study of digitalized documents to be the most interesting when studying digital history, because it gives us a greater capacity to analyze different perspectives from the past side by side, when in the past you wouldn’t have been able to compare such a variety of sources side by side because of restrictions in physical library’s and archives.

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