Unit 2, Part A: The Local Digital History Scene
The Sibelius Monument in Helsinki, Finland. The structure is composed of organ pipes. Photo credit C. T. Evans.
We have been practicing digital history for almost two decades now, and in this unit I want to give you some background to the local university centers, because they have all been pioneers in developing new digital techniques and apps, for example, George Mason's Omeka and Zotero or the Scholar's Lab Neatline. In the last twenty years, a definition and some of the characteristics of digital history have been worked out by many historians at these institutions, and it is good for you to see the kind of innovative work being done in the field by our local universities.
What you must do in this unit
- Read Rosenzweig's textbook (Introduction section). If you are interested, you might print this section, and then read it both in hard copy form and online so that you can appreciate the difference between reading something online v. hard copy. You might wish to investigate this further and post about it to your blog.
- Read this week's note.
- Watch the video for this unit of the course on ItunesU for NVCC (look for HIS 295) or on YouTube.
- Acquaint yourself with local university centers that focus on digital history/humanities:
- Let's also have a quick look at the local library scene and see what is being done in terms of digital collections/exhibits:
- Create a blog (20 points) for your use in the course. Please email the URL of your blog to me, and I will provide feedback. When I everyone in the class has set up a blog, I will share all fhe URLs. As your first post to the blog, comment on (1) what you found most interesting of the Rosenzweig reading; (2) any possible ideas that you might have for your final project in the course.
- Submit the URL of your blog on Canvas for grading.
What you can do in this unit
- I have recently discovered other online "texts" that deal with the digital revolution in history, for example, Writing History in the Digital Age:
a born-digital, open-review volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki and Peter Lunenfeld, Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Todd Presner, Jeffrey Schnapp, Digital Humanities (2012). T. Mills Kelly, also at GMU, has published Teaching History in the Digital Age. See also, A Companion to Digital Humanities, edited by Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth (2004!). If you wish, please take a quick look. Let me know if you find any other digital "textbooks" available on the web?
Extra credit options
- Find materials (on the web) related to the differences in reading something online and reading something as a hard copy. I have been able to find old research on the difference between reading from a computer screen and reading from a book, but I have seen nothing that has been published recently. This may be the result of gated portals that exist on the web to protect databases--more about that later. Anything that you find, I can add to this unit's note.
Unit learning objectives
- Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to (1) demonstrate knowledge and evolution of the key local institutions focused on digital history and (2) explain the key concepts and definitions of digital history.