Digital History

A New Frontier Turner Never Anticipated:

It has been one of my goals with this blog to present historical information in an innovative way to the cloud. The social media revolution has only intensified the ability to disseminate knowledge and collaborate in any field of study. While digital publishing in theory is little different from traditional print, it provides a platform for reaching a wider audience with little barriers and expense.

Digital History is a new frontier in presenting historical material to a much wider audience than traditional print books and journals, as well as lowering the barrier of entry for both academics and enthusiasts. Even the traditional professional symposia and conventions have transitioned somewhat into new discussions on the digital realm. The AHA 2012 convention represented this trend with panels discussing the digital humanities in general and digital history specifically. Two examples, Presenting Historical Research Using Digital Media & Crowdsourcing History: Collaborative Online Transcription and Archives, illustrate in a big way the trend’s strength in the historical discipline. Of course with any new movement their are often fears, questions, & detractors – for a representative discussion, check out this post on the U.S. Intellectual History Blog. For more information, lookup the archives of #AHA2012 or #twitterstorians on Twitter. In the future, I will be posting some representative sites along this trend.

Among other things, the #twitterstorians coverage of the AHA 2012 has inspired me to move forward with these new strategies. Besides presenting my thoughts on San Francisco in the 1890s, I thought I would at some point digitize my research transcriptions of primary sources so that they might be available to others. The advantages of “crowdsourcing” historical knowledge allows for a much more collaborative and in many ways, more productive way to initiate and engage a historical topic. It is in this vein that I hope this new strategy will help facilitate. And thanks again to all those #twitterstorians who were covering the AHA 2012 convention in Chicago.

For my own purposes I will be publishing text transcriptions of many significant primary sources regarding San Francisco in the Gilded Age. These “Source Transcriptions” can be found under the “Digital History” menu above, or click here. In the future I will write more on this new digital movement when time permits.

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