Response to Week 10 readings

In Cohen’s chapter about finding digital-born materials and how to archive them was very intriguing. The case study of September 11th and the amount of primary source material that reached the internet at a pace that was not up with the times. The search of “digital history’, history born in the digital realm, makes the use of paper inanimate. Cohen’s methods of finding respectable sources to find digital-born media assisted myself in gaining materials for my Digital Exhibit. Audio, visuals, anything born in the digital age is hard to find in its purest value. A document is there in its purity not copied or digitized just pure , but a digitally-born material can be converted to different formats or edited and can be diluted by contributions from a growing technologically equipped public.

The use of the public is good for reactions of an event or their own experiences throughout their lives. This primary data is what can be digitized and used by historians. Cohen delved deeper into the reasons we use digitized media to convey a historical argument. One reason was economics and I thought this made sense. It is economically more beneficial to do a phone interview or to do an interview over the internet than it is to drive all the way across the country to get a few sentences and having an empty gas tank. Cohen’s article “The Future of Preserving the Past” explains further why digital media can be extremely useful for historians to mark their data. The Digital age is upon us and a new, safe way of exploring the world’s history needs to be improved. Reliable sources need to be checked to make sure that they can be used for future generations. While visiting the September 11th archive I began to realize that people all around the United States can contribute their experiences toward one event that can add a total new perspective of learning the events that lead and followed the disaster of 9/11.

The Change of Museums 4/7/10

Through the readings from Susan Chun, Peter Samis, and Matthew MacArthur the new version of the Museum is emerging in the 21st century. The  use of twitter and delicious with a museum are new advancements to gain more followers to a specific point of interest. Through social networking museums can broaden the demographic to a more global level. The idea of social tagging caught my eye. Shared Authority is one tough subject to indulge upon due to its sensitive attributes. The power of the people over the material watched over by historians and museum curators is a tough barrier to step across in the 21st century. Social tagging allows the public to place their own tags for a certain item to be found on the web through various search engines. This form of tagging his its pros and cons just like anything in the world. The pros are that the community can be more involved in who can see the material. Furthermore the public can gain more interest in the matter through facebook, twitter, or any other social networking site. The cons are that the public can mislead others with faulty tags and that things can become corrupted or falsified with too much power given to the public. I believe that the internet should be based on the Calvinist principles that our forefathers placed in the U.S. Constitution. That man cannot be fully trusted, but be given certain rights to enable his freedom.  Enable the freedom for the public to access the web and be involved in certain ways, but not enough to violate or affect a museum website and exhibits directly. The Canadian Heritage Information Network can be used as a great starting point for Canadian museums to introduce themselves to the digital world. Historians should hold the most power, but some of it must be given to the public. The public is what keeps museums alive and to allow to be involved will only further the cause.

Response 3/30/10

The articles from Besser, Jensen, and Cox delve into different areas of the progression of technology along with the birth of “digital libraries”. The term itself made me quiver thinking of old stone buildings filled with an endless supply of books, which kept you company while being nestled near a fireplace during a stormy day. Besser explained how the past can be better explained through a well constructed library. That is designed well enough to entice the interests of normal websurfers. Howard went through the history of digital libraries and why their development is important to the historical profession and educational practice. The concept of digitizing books and information onto the web is exciting yet terrifying. No more will the old stone buildings which form a nostalgia in my brain exist without the pages that are printed. Scanners and photocopies of pages will replace the need for paper. The ecological principle to this shift is well justified, but the motivation for a researcher to go leaps and bounds for their project is then based on how well they use search engines and not going on a physical quest for knowledge. I am already feeling the effects of the digital age and how it is making me become more and more lazy. With anything their are pros and cons and with the “digital library” there are more pros than cons. This optimistic approach was further strengthened by the arguments of Jensen and Cox who explain the reasons why we have gone into the “digital age” and what we are planning to do as people and historians to make our interests known worldwide.

Project Idea

For my Digital Archive I chose the character of Ty Cobb. The Detroit Tiger from the early 20th century proved to be a tough minded individual who did anything to win the game he loved most dearly. The man behind the jagged cleats, the stone washed face, the racist remarks, and the attitude of a demon is a caring figure that stands by his willingness to achieve his goals and not to let his inferiors claim his awards at the end of each season. The charity foundation he held and the endless support he gave his fellow teammates are examples of his good moral character. Cobb was admitted into the brothers of the Free Masons. The Masons are a group of various religious denominations that follow a Deist philosophy. This brotherhood had shaped Cobb’s sheltered nature into a conversing and caring member of a well respected brotherhood.

Cohen Readings for 3/10/10

Dan Cohen’s Digital History was very informative on how historians can use websites to promote and educate history.  Cohen does state that historians try to get to technological with creating websites and overwhelm their sources. The excess of computers needed to produce 20,ooo documents is discussed to show that one computer can host those documents and not 1,c00. The guidelines that he displays in Chapter 2 are very helpful in creating an appropriate website that displays history. Technologies such as “zoomable maps” and images would make a website seem more interactive and gain the attention of the random web surfer. Glossaries of different languages that the viewer can interact with as well would make a historical website stand out among the common urls. Online Syllabi were very simple to create using the readings from Cohen and also great sources to have on a educational website. The main points that I was able to take in from Cohen’s Chapter 2 is how to make an effective and appropriate website for the world to view.

Chapter 4’s designing guidelines are very helpful in trying not to make your website a commercial promoting machine. Historians need to be very careful in the creation of their webpage and Cohen’s articles help the least technologically advanced person and turned them into digital historians. I believe that further examples of good and bad designs need to added to this piece to help the average viewer understand what is “good” and “bad”. The question of the value design has toward the success of a website is iterated in Cohen’s piece many times. If a website became the first place for information on a certain topic it will gain many viewers and support. For Example the Atomic Veterans History Project.  Overall the readings would assist any historian that would want to add to the world’s understanding of history.

Changing Scholarship

From the readings this week I have seen that the digital age is here. The Digital Humanities as a course of study at universities seems the way of the future. In Our Cultural Commonwealth it seemed very apparent that there are many inexperienced people working on digital archives and exhibits. A new age of studying the digital realm of society in order to better organize and display history to the world. Lisa Spiro’s piece gave me the personal aspect of what digitizing the humanities can mean to the rest of the community. The simplicity of Microsoft Word as a text processor and the use of the Internet for research would create many easy researching techniques. The physical material is turning digital and through this change there needs to be new scholarship to be ready for the upcoming change in looking up documents. I agree with Lisa and the other writers that state the world needs to be ready to share their information with each other over a digital spectrum that needs to be educated through facilities available to all economic classes around the world.

Alot of funding needs to be involved to sustain such a large course of study. Universities, foundations and corporations need to pool together to create an environment that makes researching easier. Digital Humanities is more than just working with computers. It is a new course that studies the change in communication around the globe and its new technologies, finds ways of displaying the humanities over a global network, and takes information and cognitive skills from the world of academia and adds it into a young prospering digital world. Digital Scholarship would further boost academics in schools and also create more jobs for the many people in desperate need of them.

Response to Readings for Feb. 24

The readings for this week seem to be focused upon information databases that are reliable. Rozenweig’s piece on Wikipedia really intrigued me. The power and use of Wikipedia that the public has is strikingly big. Younger generations are becoming more and more reliant on Wikipedia which can be edited by anyone. As a future educator I tend to tell my students to use Wikipedia as a branching off point toward finding reliable internet sources. Wikipedia is not the only database that needs to be cautiously looked at. Any website that is not federally funded should be looked at with suspicion. Lots of students were told the same warning but just believed information on other sites was reliable when all of it isn’t. The idea Rozenweig gives out is that inaccurate information is better than none at all. I would have to disagree with this in that information given to an individual for researching purposes needs to be rechecked before it goes into a term paper.

Response to Cohen and Rozenweig

The introduction to Cohen and Rozenweig’s Digital History runs along with Cohen’s article that I previously responded to.  Like anything on the planet there are pros and cons. The pros to history becoming digitzed and placed on the internet seem to outweigh the cons in the introduction. I think it was a good piece going over from capacity to hypertexuality as the good things that the internet can add to digital history. The vast expanse of the internet and memory that is getting bigger by the minute. Terabyte hard drives are being sold for under $100 which led to his next pro the accessibility of the internet to the average historian. The cons were small things that can affect an article like the readability, the quality, and also if the article is not accessible. Each pro and con is explained on a neutral and equal level that makes it easy to read. A non-biased writing for a cause is very rare to find and I believe that Cohen and Rozenweig made their argument clear and have hopes that technology will history forth.

Response to Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities Blog

I have to agree with Dan that if the academic world joined the realm of blogging that the art of posting messages online would seem more communicative rather than overzealous or infatuated. The assumption that blogs are the parchment that highly sexualized college students can posts their intimate interests is mostly true. I have always feared blogs and did not know how to browse through them effectively. Cohen has shown the reader of his article that a professor can create a blog and make it educational and respectable to others who view it. Blogging is another medium in which others can gain knowledge over the internet. If professors didn’t take this possibility many others may not be able to understand current events unfolding around them.


Hey I’m David Allen

I’m a graduate student at CCSU and currently enrolled in a Digital History course.

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