Category Archives: Articles

Article Reflections

Hello World

Today I am going to write about two articles I read and my impressions of them and what they said about digital history.

This first article I read was Learning how to write Analog and Digital History (2012 revision) by Andrea Lawrence.  The first paragraph starts out with the author expanding on how historical has been a robust project that has certain perimeters that have stayed mostly the same over the last few years. And that learning to “do history” (A direct quote) can feel like a just soaking in knowledge. While presenting it can be a very limited experience.

I understood what she was saying up to this point. As I have noticed how lately in the modern world how people have stopped at only sharing knowledge through books or conferences. However there is another way to do so and Andrea tackles this in her paper.

She created a class called Histories of Education where she taught her students how to evaluate historiography and experiment with different forms of historical research and writing methods and formats.  Through online discussion, peer review, blogs, critical reviews, wikipedia and other formats; she taught her students what integrity in historical research is, how to structure and how to document.

This article allowed me to reflect on some things I would want to place on my website and how I would want to share history in the future. It also showed that digital history is more then just a new form of sharing history, its a new form of educating, learning and experimenting. It is allowing people to reach new heights and “do history” in a way that is more then soaking knowledge from a page. All in all, I felt her article was very informative if a little ambiguous.

The other article I read was The Accountability Partnership: Writing and Surviving in the Digital Age (2012 revision) by Natalia Petrzela and Sarah Manekin.

This article jumped out at me because of the title. Sometimes I feel like I’m barely managing to keep a float in the Digital world sea. So I wanted to see how other people have managed.

The first paragraph started by introducing our two authors and why they had need an accountability partnership—-a dissertations. Both women had been in different cities and studying two vastly different centuries of history. But they used the internet to connect via email. Both would email each other every day with goals, a schedule of what they were doing, and a reflection on whatever tricky historical question was tickling their brain that day.

Though I found this article sparse on exciting sentences that kept me engaged the whole time, I liked the idea of what they were doing. And felt like it would be a wonderful way to keep on task.

All in all, I felt that their article was informative, if a little too wordy and dry. However I am glad I read their article as it showed me that I would want to avoid blocky paragraphs and cliche catch phrases in my own writing, of my contract and on my website.

Both articles were helpful in sharing ideas and methods which is why they had been originally shared. So I can say that both did their jobs well and I’ll be looking through more articles later.

Until next time.


How to Survive the Digital Age

Even though I am a student of history, I haven’t spent much time learning about the field or how it has changed over time; in fact, this semester has been really eye-opening for me as far as learning about academia and what it means to be a scholar of history.  I was fortunate enough to go to the AHA conference this January with Leah and a few others from Mary Washington, and it was great to see how much the field has progressed in recent years, and how the Digital Humanities are quickly gaining recognition.  Dr. McClurken’s tweets about all things history also help me to learn more about the field!  Anyhow, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to read a few articles this week about the field, and I hope it will encourage my thirst to learn more about history as an area of study and as a profession.

The first article I read, “What Does It Mean to Think Historically,” caught my attention because I didn’t really know what this meant (isn’t that the point of the article though?).  I find that I tend to think historically, and look to the past to think about the future – but this article showed how historians think and how they teach about the past.  The five Cs of historical thinking (change over time, causality, context, complexity, and contingency) are used to answer questions of the past and how to form arguments.  I hadn’t really thought about how techniques come into play when historians approach topics, but now I understand how scholars approach subjects and why the field has been so successful in its foundations for historical inquiry.

The second article I chose, “Citizen Scholars: Facebook and the Co-Creation of Knowledge” (found within Writing History in the Digital Age), piqued my interest because we live in a world where social media reigns supreme.  It makes sense that Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming launching pads for discussions about the past – after all, don’t most of us have an account with either or both sites (and are encouraged to tweet about this class?!).  There are pros and cons of working with social media to gain historical insight; it can seem like a less-than-scholarly mode of discussion, and although this might be true, it offers a plethora of opportunities in connecting with historians and those interested in history who might not otherwise be engaged.  I love the idea of the “sharing” of authority amongst many people, who can then contribute to a greater narrative that might not have been realized without the aid of digital media and social networking.

All in all, after reading these articles and learning things in both this project and that of my Digital History class, even though I am a firm believer in the past and all things old-fashioned, I am thankful that this digital age has allowed us many opportunities for the expansion of knowledge and the ability to work across borders, time, and space.