Welcome to Digital History Methods (History and New Media HIST 677-477). This course explores the current and potential impact of digital media on the theory and practice of history. It also counts as a tool of research course, which means that it will provide you with knowledge of “standard tools of research/analysis.” In this course we are going to explore the impact digital technologies on the historian’s craft. The notion of the historian’s craft here is intentionally expansive. Digital tools are effecting nearly every aspect of historical work, including but not limited to; collecting, organizing, presenting and sources; analyzing and interpreting sources; modes of scholarly and broader public communications; techniques for teaching.
As a methods course, our focus is entirely about the how of history not the what of history. We will focus on how digital tools and digital sources are affecting historical research and the emerging possibilities for new forms of scholarship, public projects and programs. For the former, we will explore new analytic methods (tools for text analysis and data visualization) along with work on issues related to interpreting born digital and digitized primary sources. For the latter, we will explore a range of digital media history resources, including practical work on project management and design. We will read a range of works on designing, interpreting and understanding digital media. Beyond course readings we will also critically engage a range of digital tools and resources.
After the course students will be able to:
- Thoughtfully and purposefully engage in dialog about history on the public web with a range of stakeholders in digital history: historians, archivists, museum professionals, educators, and amateurs, etc.
- Discover, evaluate, and implement digital tools and digital sources to support emerging and proven forms of historical scholarship, public projects, and teaching.
- Develop proposals for digital history resources with detailed plans for project management, design, outreach, and evaluation.
- Understand and articulate the key issues in collecting, preserving and interpreting digital and digitized primary sources from the perspective of a historian.