The future of Civil War history… yet another angle

Posted on April 24, 2013 by


Harry’s doing some interesting stuff over in his blog. If you haven’t seen it already, there are two polls… here, and here. Chime-in if you haven’t already done so.

GoogleGlassNow, that said… I’ve had something on my mind for several weeks. I keep meaning to write something about it, but I’m not quite sure how I want to approach it. Probably better, first, to just get it out there… “Google Glass“.

Before I start, let me remind readers… I have an academic background that has two forks… or tines in the fork… if you will. I think it’s obvious enough that history is one of those. The other, I keep in check for a couple of reasons. For one, I don’t want readers to start “glazing over” when I start talking hypertext theory, Web theory, and even… augmented reality. Yes, I said… augmented reality (AR). That said, however… I prefer to think of the Web/Tech stuff as delivery vessels for history (see previous posts, herehere, and here).

I’m actually surprised… well, maybe… nobody within the CW blogosphere has yet to discuss Google Glass in terms of the future of the Civil War.

First… why I shouldn’t be surprised.

It’s not economically feasible at this time to even think like “Buck Rogers.” The most effective way to impact the future of the Civil War, at this time, is the “human delivery vehicle”. One can train others how history should be delivered. I say that imagining a sharp item stabbing me in the eye… virtually speaking, of course. The problem is… who’s to say which way(s) is/are the right way? The answer… there is no one right way (and I’d make that plural, but multiple ways still don’t necessarily make things better). In some ways, this is where a delivery vehicle like Google Glass might be both neutral (which is “relative”, since programming can still be a reflection of bias) and versatile.

Second… why I am surprised.

Like I said… it’s versatile. Yet, let me be clear…

Forget Google Glass in its Beta form, and forget it as it appears in name… “Google Glass”. Just forget… “it”. There are all sorts of issues surrounding it… especially concerns about privacy. Forget “it’, and start thinking about the potential of a similar device.

So, then… how can such a device be so versatile?

I’m all over the largest possible audience theories, and as such can get all geeky over the idea of a single device to do just that. Think of it… one device allowing multiple pathways to interpretation, and it’s in the hands/eyes of the user to decide the path(s) down which the user wishes to travel. Imagine… hands-free history… and you pick the path(s). Today, one tour… tomorrow, a different one… over the same ground.

Like I said… without getting too tech geeky, let’s just start with these thoughts as to where the future of Civil War history might yet go.  Again, take a look at my three previous posts about AR, and think about it further.