When you try researching history on the web, what is your first step? Personally, I start out by typing a few words into Google and seeing what pops up. It’s very basic and may not always lead to the best sources, but it’s somewhere to start.
Modern digital media has provided us with the means to store a large amount of information in small spaces, share the information with individuals across the globe who can also take part in the development of a project, create projects that integrate multiple forms of digital media, and it has allowed us to search for connections within scores of information quickly. All of these advantages have provided the general public with the opportunity to expand their education and easily access information which may have once been restricted for viewing by only the most elite scholars. In other words, fourth grade students studying the American Revolution can now build webpages that pull information from institutes such as the Smithsonian with only a few clicks of their mice.
Though researching and sharing history may have been made easier through the expansion of digital media, our society must now also deal with the downfalls of such technological leaps. We can rarely guarantee the quality of the information we are viewing on the web, making it difficult to gather correct information and avoid the opinions of individuals. In addition, the vast leaps in the storage and sharing of information which many organizations have spent the last 20 years creating are slowing because we have yet to find the means by which we can preserve our digital present.
Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s text Digital History strives to educate the general populace on the advances and blockades being experienced in the digital media. They intended to create a book which would teach more people how to create and participate in digital history, perhaps in an effort to draw more attention to the practice and further its creation. Overall I felt that the introduction and the first chapter of the book were informative and descriptive introductions to digital history. Were you at all confused by their information? I was unable to completely understand the importance of some minute details related to the development of digital history. However, I believe the readings did give me a solid foundation to begin studying this environment. What did you find most interesting?