Blog Post #1

The concept of digital history/digital humanities is definitely interesting. I started thinking more about it after our first class meeting when Dr. Otis mentioned how she had a colleague create multiple online courses that weren’t considered “real work”. And this is, of course, because the classes are not in a traditional tangible format. Similarly, digital history/digital humanities is a somewhat intangible field since it exists primarily through technology. But why would that mean it isn’t worth as much? The internet is basically it’s own world and ecosystem, after all. It can never be destroyed since it permeates everything and like Milligan’s article discussed, there is not only archives of history but of the modern day population as well. So, I would say digital history/digital humanities is not just a discipline for the internet world but also a tool itself to improve older, more traditional disciplines.

So, another classmate pointed out that my wording wasn’t clear in the first paragraph. When I say the internet can’t be destroyed, I was thinking about it in terms of almost every electronic device having access to the internet world. I might just be rambling here but I do know that parts of the internet can and have become inaccessible. I was more thinking of the internet as it’s own digital world. I’ve talked about this with my friends before but it seems hard to put into words.

John also made a great point too about the reliance on technology during the age of COVID-19. It can be a blessing but also a nightmare to wade through unorganized databases, incomplete databases, etc. I think online archives can be great but their functions and level of completeness are definitely still being worked on. (A good example is my own research on the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt. It can be difficult to find reliable sources on this period that exist only in books, but not online yet. Not to mention the plethora of outdated/incorrect civilian websites…)

2 comments on Blog Post #1

  1. I think professors using traditional methods in traditional disciplines have a hard time comparing apples to oranges; and because DH web based projects center on digital media, where so much information and opinion can flow without gatekeepers (unlike a peer-reviewed journal), the project feels very different from a traditional medium. Perhaps Dr. Otis could expound on possible associations and platforms where this kind of information gatekeeping does exist.

  2. The fact that digital history has not been considered towards tenure is a travesty in my opinion. I wrote about this a bit in my blog post, but history as a field needs a major shift, or at least to open up to the reality that digital history is just as valid as a typical monograph. The field is still set on the peak achievement being a few articles and a book; however, there are digital historians who compile just as many sources and provide just as much analysis to create digital projects. And in my opinion, many of these digital projects are more accessible than the common academic monograph, which makes them more useful in spreading history to the public and broadening the audience of history.

    I think that is another angle that historians need to work as well. Rather than publishing solely for their peers, historians as a whole need to work on making their work more accessible to the general public. I believe that digital history is the catalyst needed to expand history and make it more digestible to the public. The internet provides a much larger reach and as time goes on, everyone will soon be able to navigate technology with ease.

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