On the Semester’s Readings

I had appreciation for both texts (Cohen & Rosenzweig, and Weller) for different reasons.

I found Cohen & Rosenzweig’s Digital History to be, at least to me, a comprehensive A to Z treatment of this topic. From that perspective, this book is a keeper, in the sense that I can see Public Historians returning to it periodically as their exposure to digital history increases and, hopefully, as it becomes an integral part of their practice and approach.  The book nicely balances the presentation of detail with a broader discussion of why traditional historians need to and should overcome their apprehensions and engage with this topic. From other readings it is also clear that Roy Rosenzweig is viewed by many in the field as a model to be admired and listened to.

I found Weller’s History in the Digital Age helpful in the sense of digging deeper into specific topics. But I don’t think I would have gotten as much out of this book had it not been for reading Digital History at the same time. I found the writing by several of the writers in Weller’s book to be dense and somewhat pretentious. That could be because several articles described digital history issues from a British perspective.

I enjoyed the variety found in the other readings and especially enjoyed the readings from Week 8 on the Collaborative Web. I come away with the opinion that now that Wikipedia has opened the gate for non-professionals, this phenomenon will only grow in the future. As a result, I believe that historians who hunker down and refuse to acknowledge this and deal with it, will eventually be left behind. I believe there is room for professional, peer-reviewed articles, more informal and as a result more frequent writing through blogs, and other digital expressions of history – historical websites and, of course, digital exhibits.






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