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Research Guides

Why Digital History?

Wikipedia presents a rather dry definition of digital history as "the use of digital media and tools for historical practice, presentation, analysis, and research." Loosely, digital history is a nebulous term encompassing digitized archives of material, nifty multimedia projects, technological tools that range from GIS to textmining, from evernote to zotero, adoption of technology in the classroom and, of course, social media in all its flavors.

So what does digital history offer us? 

  1. It provides us with a wide and growing access to historical material. Digitizing material (images, texts, video, data, etc.) was the initial step in the creation of digital history.
  2. It gives us new ways and tools to manipulate this digitized material - manage, mashup, mine, map and model.
  3. It is transforming scholarly communication and publishing - blogs, twitter, ejournals, ebooks, etc.
  4. It is enhancing teaching and learning - flipped classrooms, moocs, simulations, virtual reality, etc.
  5. It is an avenue for reaching a broader, public history, audience through digitized historical projects.

This guide provides links to readings (books, articles, blogposts) that discuss various aspects of digital history as well as links to specific tools, syllabi (how is topic & tools for digital history being taught), and other material.

Material adapted from Lisa M. Spiro's presentation, "Why Digital Humanities?" The word cloud, courtesy of Wordle, captures the introductory paragraph from the wikipedia article on digital history.