Week Two Notes

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Week Two Notes

  1. 1. What is digital history? Digital history is an approach to examining and representing the past that works with the communication technologies of the computer, the Internet network, and software systems.
  2. 2. What else? Historians evaluate evidence to build narratives that make sense of the past. Digital technologies have enabled historians to look from new perspectives. Historian Steve Mintz describes three phases of the growth of digital history.
  3. 3. Stage One communication and course-management tools, such as e-mail, online syllabi,, and Blackboard, supplemented by content-rich websites. Valley of the Shadow by Edward Ayers was one of the first big history websites. Digital History by Steve Mintz and historymatters from RRCHNM at George Mason were early textbooks-style websites that combined a variety of sources.
  4. 4. Stage Two Next, historians began creating hands-on websites. Historical Thinking Matters and Object of History are early examples.
  5. 5. Stage Three Pretty much where we are now: publishing, creating, collaborating, interpreting: dealing with constant growth and change.
  6. 6. Digital technologies change how historians work
  7. 7. Digital technologies change the tools historians use
  8. 8. Technologies also change • What resources historians can access • How historians use those resources • How historians present or publish information
  9. 9. Looking ahead • There are 644 million active websites today. Maybe. There may be 1 billion. It depends on who calculates the figure. • How will historians make sense of the abundance of data that is available? • Do we need hands-on work in archives anymore?
  10. 10. How do we sift through and evaluate websites? • Here are some useful rubrics • http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-evalsites.htm • http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/webcritiqu e.htm (Virginia Montecino, Eduational& Technology Resource at George Mason created these lists)
  11. 11. What are some evaluation criteria? • • • • Accuracy Authority Objectivity Currency (up-to-date)
  12. 12. Let’s look at • Digital Harlem: Everyday Life 1915-1930: http://heur-dbpro-1.ucc.usyd.edu.au/HEURIST/harlem/ • Mechanical Marvels of the Nineteenth Century:http://www.bigredhair.com/robots/index.html • Papers of the War Department:http://wardepartmentpapers.org/ • PhilaPlace: http://www.philaplace.org/ • The Price of Freedom: Americans at War: http://amhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/ • Al Capone and American Crime: http://www.history.com/topics/alcapone/photos#al-capone-and-prohibition • The Triangle Factory Fire: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/trianglefire

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