First off, welcome! This is my first post of hopefully many to come, so this is my own kind of history isn’t it? In the coming months, I plan to explore the impact of the emergence of digital media on the practice of obtaining history. I am certainly a novice in this field, so I’m sure if you’re in the same boat, we can learn together, or better yet, if you have experience, I can benefit from your feedback and qualified interpretations.
Though a neophyte to public history, I was well-aware of the abundance of different archival sites that focus on the preservation and digitization of the internet, in addition to analog historical records, like diaries, photographs, film etc. To me, while conducting research in the past, it has been almost overwhelming to a point how extensive these archival databases are. Sure, they were quite intriguing, but many were so elaborate and complex, that I did not know or even attempt to include them in my research. Part of this was due to just not knowing how to properly navigate the collections, another part due to not knowing how to go about inserting and citing the information I might collect in my paper. Most of my citations in these papers have come from academic dissertations, essays and research. As Rosenzweig and Cohen, further detail in their comprehensive narrative of digital history:
The Library of Congress’s American Memory project presents more than 8 million historical documents. ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers offers the full text of five major newspapers including full runs of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. Most dramatically, the search engine behemoth Google has announced plans to digitize at least 15 million books.1 Hundreds of millions in federal, foundation, and corporate dollars have gone into digitizing a startlingly large proportion of our cultural heritage (Rosenzweig, Cohen).
As more and more projects emerge from different sources like the New York Times, or the Library of Congress, it will be critical that schools encourage “literacy” in digital history so that they can become valuable tools for potential future historians. They are such beneficial sources, and their widespread use among future generations could only lend itself to more positive developments in this emerging field.