Why I’m taking Digital History

I’m taking this class because I’m currently working on a communication and digital study’s major and this was one of the electives available this semester. In all my classes up to date I have yet to participate in a  project like that of our group projects, particularly one involving civil war artifacts and research. I’ve always been interested in learning about new forms of media and how they can be applied to fields like history, the arts, business etc. I’ve also always been very interested in history and the humanities and regret not being able to take more of those types of classes so this class is a welcomed blend of both concentrations. It will also be a nice opportunity to finally apply concepts and  digital tools to a project that could potentially be used beyond this class. After I graduate from UMW I am strongly considering grad school for communications, so I’m excited to make the most of any projects this semester that could help my application.

Why I’m Taking Digital History

Digital History is the capstone class for my minor, which is Digital Studies. I am excited to combine my minor with history, a topic I am interested in, and have not been able to explore much in my college career. I look forward to documenting history in a way I never have before, while discovering a new side of digital studies.

Why Digital History?

Hello, my fellow peers.

I, once again, would like to introduce myself. I am Andrew Boswell and my major is Digital Studies. Adventures in Digital History is one of my required capstones for completing my degree, but I am not taking it for only that reason. Ever since I declared my major, I wanted to learn more about the Digital Age and be involved in its progression. I’m sure this course will help me understand and get familiar with the already archived history of technology and digital tools even more so than my previous course that I had with Professor McClurken.

I’m pretty excited to see how each of the assigned projects turn out!

Cohen and Rosenschweig’s Digital History, Intro

Reading the introduction to Cohen and Rosenschweig’s 2006 book,  I was for the most part impressed that the observations made therein were still relevant. The authors did an excellent job of distilling the components that made up and still make up the field of digital history. Notably however, the book was written before the entrance onto the market of the Amazon Kindle e-reader. When commenting on the possibility of digital reading usurping traditional books, the authors had this to say.

“Prophets of hypertext have repeatedly promised a new, richer reading experience, but critics have instead seen the digital environment as engendering the death of reading as we know it. Sven Birkerts has expressed the most profound sense of loss in Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. The more prosaic (and the most common) complaint centers on the difficulty of reading a screen, that is, the issue of poor legibility. But reading on screen may ultimately find a technological solution as high-resolution, high-contrast displays become cheaper to produce.”

As the Kindle has demonstrated, the readability issues in the technical sense have for the most part been resolved. Using an E-reader is no longer considered difficult, and the convenience of what can effectively be a portable library is hard to deny. That said, for various other reasons, the E-book has so far complemented rather than replaced print books. According to a Pew survey in 2014, only 4% of e-book users exclusively read e-books. In 2015, according to another Pew survey, e-reader ownership has actually declined.

http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2014/E-Reading-Update/Overview.aspx

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/the-demographics-of-device-ownership/

Given these statistics, it seems safe to conclude that this particular fear of “techno-skeptics” as the authors refer to them, has been demonstrated to be unwarranted, at least in the foreseeable future. In terms of e-readers and tablets with similar provisions for allowing users to read online content and e-books, this book could definitely use an update, certainly to the extent of a footnote or two about the statistics mentioned above.

 

Introduction: Why am I here?

I signed up for Dr. McClurken’s class for  several reasons, the first being that it looked like one of the most interesting classes for this semester and I had heard good things from friends who took the class. On a somewhat more intellectual level,  I am interested in gaining more proficiency with using digital tools within the context of the history discipline in order to promote more interest and understanding of history. I like using the Internet, both for personal entertainment and to do research, but I do not have too much experience with digital projects, so I am hoping to get a wider skill-set in the digital history field that I could use in the future out of this class.