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
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.
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.
Next, historians began creating hands-on
Historical Thinking Matters and Object of History
are early examples.
Pretty much where we are now: publishing,
creating, collaborating, interpreting: dealing
with constant growth and change.
Digital technologies change how
Digital technologies change the tools
Technologies also change
• What resources historians can access
• How historians use those resources
• How historians present or publish information
• 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
How do we sift through and evaluate
• Here are some useful rubrics
(Virginia Montecino, Eduational& Technology Resource at
George Mason created these lists)
What are some evaluation criteria?
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
• Papers of the War Department:http://wardepartmentpapers.org/
• PhilaPlace: http://www.philaplace.org/
• The Price of Freedom: Americans at War:
• 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