Category Archives: Clio1

Designing History

“Enable and inspire me to think about and grasp the past.”

As historians, our first goal is to examine and present information about the historic past, much like this quote from Digital History states. The Internet has the ability to potentially change how this information is delivered to the public. However, with the ability to present historical information on the Internet, we have to not only write the information that we’re putting on the web, but we must also consider how we’re putting it out there for the public to consume. We discussed in class how we must now recognize that design is crucial for the success of a historic website, which our readings also establish. We must follow many of the same rules as designers, such as presenting text with high contrast and easily readable texts. Although these types of rules are easy to learn, the rules of design can and do get particularly difficult. To what extent do historians continue this education? Can we just follow the rules contrast, proximity, alignment, and repetition spelled out in Digital History, or do we seek out more complex rules for presenting history on the web?

…In which I blog again after mulling over some more on Digital History

All of these things—collaborative encylcopedism, tool building, librarianship—fit uneasily into the standards of scholarship forged in the second half of the 20th century. Most committees for promotion and tenure, for example, must value single authorship and the big idea more highly than collaborative work and methodological or disciplinary contribution.

– Tom Scheinfeldt “Theory, Method, and Digital Humanities,” in Hacking Scholarship

 

This quote is one thing that I, as well as many of you, may have to consider as we move along the track of digital history or even traditional academia. Although some historians have become more accepting of collaborative endeavors, many still consider the single author- book or peer-reviewed journal article as the end all be all for moving up in the world of academia. I have been confronted with this already in my young career, including a small incident involving a research forum where the 2nd author did not receive a plaque. (Spoiler Alert!- He was quite displeased.) This will be something that we will have to tackle as well in our careers, and it has obviously been an ongoing issue in the field of digital history, as evidenced by the readings for this week.

Saving Historical Evidence

While reading Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web, I was struck by two questions that they asked:

“In other words, why delete anything from the current historical record if it costs so little save it?”

“How might our history writing be different if all historical evidence were available?”

These two questions, I feel, are still very important and relevant questions to ask. In an era where things are easily deleted, considered irrelevant, or even produced only through email, we’re facing, as historians, a dilemma of maintaining sources for the future. During my time at the University of Central Florida, one of the things we discussed the most for the Veteran’s History Project was the importance of collecting oral histories, as much of the correspondence of recent veterans is through email, rather than writing letters. These emails are easily lost or even just deleted, which would remove a huge source of information for future and present historians that are trying to explore this information. How do we, as historians, tackle the issue of the the deletion of potential sources? How could we potentially make this information available? Certainly, the internet has made many sources available people that were not previously available, such as through digital archives and web projects, but is there a way to inform people about the importance of their digital footprint and sources?  It is also important to consider the vast amount of content that people are creating now, through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other web sources, and how these items could potentially relate to the future historic record.

Clearly it would be impossible to save every single item that is created, and even still, we might not want to. However, it is worth considering what types of sources will be saved from our very digital and easily deleted era.

Anne Ladyem-An Introduction

Hello all! My name is Anne Ladyem McDivitt. I will be joining you all at Mason this year to start my PhD, and I have lived in Orlando, Florida for the past several years. I completed both my MA and my BA at the University of Central Florida, and during that time, I was able to accomplish many things, such as curating several exhibits, serving as a GTA, and working within a local history museum. I also completed my MA thesis, which examined the US video game industry from 1958-1986 and its relation to white, middle class masculinity. It was quite fun to research and write, and I am very proud of it! I have also been known to study the African American Civil Rights Movement and Vikings for fun. During my spare time (which is becoming increasingly less), I enjoy playing video games, reading comics, and I have recently become quite the soccer fan. I look forward to meeting you all this semester, and my Twitter handle is @anneladyem, for when you need that.

Because it seemed fun and so you know who you’re being introduced to, I have attached a photo of myself being a soccer hooligan in Orlando. 😀 (I’m the tiny one.)

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