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Digital History: Teaching & Tools   Tags: digital history, digital humanities  

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2014 URL: Print Guide

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Why Digital History?

Wikipedia presents a rather dry definition of digital history as "the use of digital media and tools for historical practice, presentation, analysis, and research." Loosely, digital history is a nebulous term encompassing digitized archives of material, nifty multimedia projects, technological tools that range from GIS to textmining, from evernote to zotero, adoption of technology in the classroom and, of course, social media in all its flavors.

So what does digital history offer us? 

  1. It provides us with a wide and growing access to historical material. Digitizing material (images, texts, video, data, etc.) was the initial step in the creation of digital history.
  2. It gives us new ways and tools to manipulate this digitized material - manage, mashup, mine, map and model.
  3. It is transforming scholarly communication and publishing - blogs, twitter, ejournals, ebooks, etc.
  4. It is enhancing teaching and learning - flipped classrooms, moocs, simulations, virtual reality, etc.
  5. It is an avenue for reaching a broader, public history, audience through digitized historical projects.

This guide provides links to readings (books, articles, blogposts) that discuss various aspects of digital history as well as links to specific tools, syllabi (how is topic & tools for digital history being taught), and other material.

Material adapted from Lisa M. Spiro's presentation, "Why Digital Humanities?" The word cloud, courtesy of Wordle, captures the introductory paragraph from the wikipedia article on digital history.

Overviews of Digital History & Humanities

The following are a selection of books (electronic and print), articles and blogposts that provide overviews to the major issues related to digital history & digital humanities. Generally digital history is considered a part of the larger field of digital humanities.

  • A Decade in Digital Humanities
    Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Humanities at UCL, provides an overview of DH
  • Clio wired: the future of the past in the digital age  Icon
    A collection of eleven of Roy Rosenzweig's essays covers everything from specific issues such as hypertext to ethical and theoretical questions dealing with quality and access to resources.
  • Debates in the Digital Humanities
    This book "brings together leading figures in the field to explore its theories, methods, and practices and to clarify its multiple possibilities and tensions."
  • Digital Humanities
    "Digital Humanities is a compact, game-changing report on the state of contemporary knowledge production. Answering the question, “What is digital humanities?,” it provides an in-depth examination of an emerging field." Printed copy also available
  • Does Digital Scholarship Have a Future?
    Ed Ayers shares his thoughts on digital scholarship in an Educause Review column
  • History in the Digital Age [video]
    Panel discussion about the "public practice of history in and for a digital age" from the 2013 AHA conference.
  • History in the Digital Age
    "This book brings together many of the key issues in the nascent field of Digital History, and examines the multiplicity of ways in which digital sources, digital projects, and digital methodologies have impacted the study, practice, and teaching of history itself."
    Available in print - Suzzallo D16.9 .H565 2013
  • How Is New Media Reshaping the Work of Historians?
    Brief article from the Nov. 2010 issue of Perspectives surveys current practices.
  • Interdisciplining Digital Humanities: Boundary Work in an Emerging Field
    "Interdisciplining Digital Humanities sorts through definitions and patterns of practice over roughly 65 years of work, providing an overview for specialists and the general audience alike."
  • Intersections: History & New Media
    Special section on digital history issues from May 2009 issue of Perspectives
  • Research Support Services for History Scholars: A Study of Evolving Research Methods in History
    2012 survey and study of historian's research practices and the services and tools needed to support such research. Also see response to the report in Perspectives.
  • Writing History in the Digital Age
    "Has the digital revolution transformed how we write about the past — or not? Have new technologies changed our essential work-craft as scholars, and the ways in which we think, teach, author, and publish? Does the digital age have broader implications for individual writing processes, or for the historical profession at large?"


  • Digital Historians
    New group, arising from discussions at THATCamp Prime, to foster collaboration and communication between historians.
  • Digital Humanities Now
    "Digital Humanities Now is an experimental, edited publication that highlights and distributes informally published digital humanities scholarship and resources from the open web."
  • HASTAC Digital History
    "The goal of the Digital History Group is to bring together members of the HASTAC community who are interested in utilizing emerging digital tools for the study of the past."

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