Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reviewing Digital History Annotated Bibliography

Writing and Reviewing History in the Digital Age
Blevins, Cameron. "The New Wave of Review." Cameron Blevins (blog), March 7, 2016. Accessed        April 10, 2016.

In his blog, Blevins is able to discuss clearly why a review of a digital project as almost as important as the project itself. Blevins emphasizes the importance of a review in general in a field that is mostly based on collaboration and peer review. He also delves into why it might be important in understanding the project itself. Not that the project is bad or hard to understand; but who is someone like Blevins who is a nineteenth century American historian able to get a deep understanding of Vincent Brown’s digital project on the Jamaican slave revolt. Does Brown actually do what he is supposed to do? Does he actually demonstrate the narrative in an engaging way? Reviews of digital history projects ranging from the tweet to the scholarly article let us know how the projects fits in with the existing literature and what we are supposed to obtain from the project and use it comprehend a particular subject.

Georgini, Sara. "Reviewing Digital History." The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History      (blog), January 20, 2015. Accessed April 10, 2016.  

This blog is another useful tool for determining the effectiveness of reviewing digital history. Like Blevins, we are reminded that reviews of digital projects help us to understand the larger picture: Where does this project fit amongst the pantheon of sources linked to this topic. The interviewee, Dr. Jeffrey McClurken goes on to explain the importance of digital history and how it is emerging and becoming more and more useful amongst historians (despite the fact that it is nothing new). Because digital history is now being taken advantage of more than ever it more important to be able to understand how to use it effectively.

Dougherty, Jack, and Kristen Nawrotzki. Writing History in the Digital Age.

This book is unique in the fact that it embraces reviews. Readers were able to add their own reviews and have them be seen in the margins of the book. The authors of the book make the argument that most people are not willing to use the internet to take advantage of its most useful sources when it comes to studying history. Tools such as blogs and social media can be incredibly helpful when it comes to presenting research and theories, etc. They have shown this by using digital media to let readers critique and review their work. They make the argument that digital history will eventually change the way of how we communicate with each other even more than it does now.

Gold, Matthew K. Debates in the Digital Humanities. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

This is another book where readers were encouraged to review the book online. The author seeks to explain what it takes to develop proper digital history knowledge among scholars, etc. For example,  one of the arguments that I focused most on is the chapter by Luke Waltzer “Digital Humanities and the ‘Ugly Stepchildren’ of American Higher Education.” Waltzer refers to the humanities as the “ugly stepchildren” because most universities fail to instill any type of regard for humanities in their students. This chapter and much of this book argues how important the humanities are to students and how, despite popular belief, it can play a large role in their future. Like the title of the book suggests, there many debates (including this one) thoroughly discussed which will help any newcomer to the topic get a better understanding of the field they are about to delve into.

Guldi, Jo, and David Armitage. The History Manifesto. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Although this book doesn’t seem to be well liked among the community of historians (based on the review), in it, Guldi and Armitage attempt to make an argument that history is losing its importance and historians are losing their prominence in the world along with it. The book attempts to give a solution to how we can change that. To solve these problems, authors suggest we return to a “long duree” and focus more on the big picture than a “microhistory”.  The book makes the argument that we shouldn’t get rid of our microhistories altogether; but that we should use them to compare it to the big picture.

Blevins, Cameron. "Mining and Mapping the Production of Space." Journal of American History, June 1, 2014.

Blevins has introduced his work in mapping and explained in very simple terms. The effectiveness of this essay comes from the several interactive examples that the reader can take advantage of while going through. For someone like me who has a difficult time with subject these tools were very effective and emphasizing Blevins ideas on mapping tools, etc. Blevins asserts that “digital methods are not any more or less valid than traditional approaches, but they do provide a different entry point into the historical archive.”

Gibbs, Fred, and Trevor Owens. "The Hermeneutics of Data and Historical Writing." In Writing History in the Digital Age. University of Michigan Press, 2012.;rgn=div1;view=fulltext;xc=1#7.3.

The authors of this essay assert the idea that working with data is exploratory. Most historians are focused on associating that data with math (something that usually doesn’t mix with the historian) or that this data can primarily be used as evidence and evidence only. The effectiveness of this essay is that it reminds us of the variety of ways in which we can utilize data. Even if the digital history project itself is not entirely good or not entirely successful, historians can still use that data to answer various other historical questions. Data also gives us the opportunity for collaboration.
Lichtenstein, Alex, ed. "Reviewing Digital History." American Historical Review, February 2016, 140-86. Accessed April 10, 2016.

This article reviews two different digital history projects: Digital Harlem: Everyday Life, 1915-1930 and Slave Revolt in Jamaica, 1760-1761: A Cartographic Narrative. Mostly what I was able to obtain from this source (other than the fact the Digital Harlem program faced some problems and harsh critique) was that digital history reviews are helpful when trying to improve research as well as the project as a whole To me, the negatives of these reviews were also prominent in the article as well. The Harlem project was not shown in a favorable light; but it is possible that the review was looking at the project out of context or maybe that the project was not being reviewed in the time period it should have been reviewed in. The project itself appeared to be out of date (not having been updated recently). What I associated most with this article was this question: “Is it possible for a digital history project to be judged unfairly?” and “What constitutes as an unfair judgment?”

McClurken, Jeffrey. "Digital History Reviews." The Journal of American History. Accessed April 10, 2016.

This is a vital set of guidelines for anyone wishing to study the digital humanities. According to Dr. McClurken, “digital projects are complex, and because of versioning and because projects may take directions that the software creators never intended, it raises all kinds of questions.” In this article, many of those questions are answered including: “How do we give credit to every contributor?” and “Should every contributor be recognized for their contribution?”

No comments:

Post a Comment