A Public History Newbie's Thoughts on Everything and Nothing

Public History. Comments. Questions. Sarcasm. Maybe Some Hippie Rants.

Thoughts on History in a Digital Age by Turkell and Lee

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This post is regarding pages 63-70 of History in a Digital Age by Lee and Turkell,

In reading this section, I realized that we, meaning historians who have a pulse on the new age of history in the juxtaposition of the World Wide Web, are in the middle of a quiet revolution. The only sound you will hear in the clicking of keyboards and intermittent sounds of YouTube’s kitten videos.

This revolution is profoundly unique and most certainly the direct result of being able to do research online. Part of this change is that the long term, singularly focused projects that have been the standard for so very long are now faux-pas.

To clarify, the long term projects that have been the standard in assignments are no longer an effective way to be in touch with the students or the intended audience. In History in a Digital Age, the authors clear that there is no substitute for close reading or the detective work that is fundamental to progression into the historian realm. After all, the wonderful world of the Internet is really not worth much to a historian if the skills for researching are never learned.

Yet, the traditional long term projects are like trying to fuel up a diesel pick-up truck at an electric car’s charging port. It’s just awkward.

The authors put forward a strategy used on students in order to balance online learning experience with tried n’ true methods of historical research. It looks as if my own Digital History professor is using these very tactics to engage us. Well done! As the professors in History in a Digital Age had they students do, my own professor has had us create blog identities, get to know Wikipedia, adopt Zotero if applicable, set up a Twitter feed, ect… All in an effort to raise classroom enthusiasm while learning work skills. Some students may be intrigued or overwhelmed (both, in my case with Omeka).

No matter what, we should be aware that we are riding that quiet tidal wave of digital history revolution. Any historian who has picked apart the fads of history focus and fazes should note that the 2000-2020 era will go down as a time of radical rethinking in this field. We, the Millennials like myself certainly did not start the ripple but, we are caught up in the momentum.


Author: greengoddesshistory

Public History Masters Student. Museum Director. Trail Runner. Gym Lover. Dove owner.

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