The Importance of Digital History

I really enjoyed exploring this week’s assigned reading and exploration, especially the website for the Center for History and New Media. I was not entirely familiar with this project before checking out the site. I explored some of their hosted sites, including the website featuring sources on the May 1970 “Hard Hat Riots,” and the “Greek American Stories” project. Having looked at these projects and others included in our assignment this week has given me a new, improved perspective on the importance of new media and digital history. While I won’t deny that I and many (probably most) historians still view printed publication as the highest achievement in academia, I feel that the creation of digital public history has so many positives when compared to the standard textbook.

The main positives would be the ability for users to customize their experience with the publication, and opportunities for authors to constantly add information and material. Digital projects have a “choose your own adventure” aspect that is ideal for researchers, or the curious visitor. These projects can provide links to related material, documents and photographs that are much more accessible than footnotes or endnotes in a textbook. The ability for authors to add material goes hand in hand with the opportunity for readers to contribute new information. The future of the history field is promising, and I feel that exposure to projects like these can help emerging historians to be part of that future.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Digital History”

  1. Great post! I was so excited about this website too, and all of the possibilities that it offers. Digital History projects have so much more promise for interaction than just words on a page. (as long as we don’t stop valuing publications, I think they can work together and revolutionize history).

  2. I share your optimism about the digital history. I think history already has a broad audience and allowing for people to customize history to fit their interests will only engage the public more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *