Digitize Me History (Reaction Paper 4)

Digital history is a relatively new field that requires a person to learn sets of new skills that have not been available. Using internet sources and other online newspaper archives can give historians reference points to identify their collections. Yet, how can  historians use radio stations, Global Information Systems (GIS), movies and online databases effectively?

One place that organizes sources well is google. Dan Cohen’s critic of google books portrays the same feelings I have about google books. He first statement google is great for history because it”allow us to read millions of books in our pajamas.” Google has done even more for us by allowing us to access newspapers, google docs, Youtube, and gmail. Mose of these digital sources are free except for google books. For some reason google does not want to make their books free. The only free function google gives you is a preview of the  book you want to read. So why not make google books free? The reason is google might not have the funding to make everything free. There are “many examples used by Google’s detractors to show a lack of quality in their library project.” Dan includes that a scanned hand of Plato lacks quality. He explains the lack of quality is because there is so much information there is not time to prefect.

Speaking of lack of quality, radio stations and movies often need improvement. Thomas Cauvin dives into this questions on how we historians  can improve scholarly works. On page 164 he says “for those who are willing to produce radio programs should also study studio, audio and sound archives.” This will improve how radio programs persevere important interviews. Cauvin also mentions that movies are often wrong when it comes to the history. “Historians never played a part in the movie, only as a critic.” 167. Historians are natural critics, but instead of being critics all the time, they should help film makers capture the emotions of history because “People learn through emotion and challenges of a historical film.” 167.

Another technology that challenges historians is how to use (GIS). GIS is a vital tool when historians want to look at specialized areas of particular topics on a map. This GIS map consist of all the pony express routes on the western side of the united states. It also gives various start and finish dates of each pony express. Effective when you want to discover what pony express was the first one the west side, when did pony express became popular and when they died out. This GIS map was a bit laggy, but that’s because of how much information there is on the map.

It is important to have tons of information, but you have to display them in a appealing matter, otherwise you are not attracting anybody. My favorite out the three chosen sites given by Dr. Cebula is Valley Of Shadows for that reason. When you enter the archive it brings you to 3 buildings layouts separated by years oldest to newest. Valley of Shadows is an archive of civil war material consist of newspapers, office records and dairies. Recommend that civil war buffs check this out.


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