Contemplations on Digital History

Over this Easter weekend, our assignment has been to check out a couple of articles and an excellent example of what and how digital history is done. While we have spent these past weeks working on our website and reading up on how to go about it, these articles discuss how it is taught, considered, and whether or not its methods apply to the study of history today.

The two articles I looked at include Christopher Millers Strange Facts in the History Classroom: or How I learned to Sto Worry and Love the Wiki(pedia) and Adrea Lawerence’s Learning How to Write Analog and Digital History. Both articles discussed how Wikipedia was part of the study and commented on how this website has grown from a considered unreliable source to something that has to be reconsidered over the years. Both articles also talk about how history is done differently from traditional history in such that digital history allows the historian to be that more creative and keep adding on to their research, updating it with new information.

Which leads us to the footnotes of The Age of Lincoln, written by Orville Burton. His online footnote resource allowed him to continue to contribute to his book a year after his book’s publication. With traditional history, once its printed, it cannot be easily added to without revamping the entire work. With Burton putting his footnotes online, he allowed himself to continue searching and considering his topic, reaffirming it as new sources become more available. Doing digital history is so similar and yet different from traditional history because the same research and citations go into both forms, however, with digital history, we’re allowed to present our information in a new way and continue to work on it long after it’s set in print.

One Response to “Contemplations on Digital History”

  1. Cassie says:

    I think wikipedia is the exception to the general guidelines of historical research. Year after year, students are told that wikipedia is not a credible source because anyone can edit it, but who is doing the editing now? If a historian or a specialist in a certain area creates a page or makes edits to one then isn’t that just as good as reading a book written by the person. If the specialist approves of the page then shouldn’t it be considered credible. The best proof that demonstrates wikipedia is a credible source is that for basically anything a person has a question about, wikipedia is that first place they go to, to look for information.