When you turn history on… does it return the favor?

Posted on November 21, 2008 by

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Once again… all this chatter about digital history! What’s it all about? Harry has put up an interesting post focusing on a piece written by Robert Frost. He uses it to help explain his interest in the potential for digital history. I get what Harry is saying.

Also, consider this…

Do we really realize just how tuned-in to technology we have become or is it so transparent that we aren’t concious of it? If we aren’t conscious of it, are we doing an injustice to history on the Web or an injustice to the Web through our history? In practices on the Web, are we still writing/transcribing/evaluating history and conveying our thoughts in the same manner as before (ink on paper) AND to the same audience as we had before? OR, are we adapting to the new environment AND, truly, a new audience? Has not the audience changed based on new expectations built-in through the use of more sophisticated technology (most especially considering the advanced game systems)? If the audience hasn’t changed completely, maybe we might gain a larger audience by delivering history more dynamically. Like I said in the title, and borrowing a bit from the Cadillac commercial… “when you turn history on… does it return the favor?” Sounds like something that History (formerly known as The History Channel) could learn from.

When considering the practice of digital history (and that includes blogging) are we a guided by traditional practice in our approach as historians/practitioners of history/aficianados of history/consumers of history/etc., or do we approach it conscious of the dynamic paths made possible through the new environment? When it comes to the Web, I’m thinking that we need to focus on two disciplines, not just the one focused on history.

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Posted in: Digital History