History 7970: Seminar in Digital History and New Media, Auburn University

Fall 2011, M 1-3:50, Thach 312A

Instructor: Professor Aaron Shapiro, 320B Thach

Telephone: 844-6526

Email: ashapiro at I will make every attempt to respond to your email within 24 hrs.

Office Hours: Wednesday 10-10:50, 1:00-2:00, Friday 9-10:50 and by appointment

I will do all I can to help you meet your goals in this class. Please e-mail me, use my office hours, or set up an appointment if you have any concerns or questions.

Overview and Course Objectives

This seminar examines the influence of new media on the research, writing, teaching, and presentation of history. This course’s aims are fourfold: To introduce and explore the key issues, analyses, critical debates, opportunities and potential drawbacks in using new media; to read leading scholarship and think about new media in historical practice; to discover and evaluate digital tools and resources for your historical scholarship, public projects, and teaching; and, to put what we read and discuss into practice by learning how to construct, post, maintain, and implement new media in your historical work.

Students will conduct research around selected topics in history, develop an awareness of the possibilities and consequences of writing for the digital medium, dialogue in class and through regular blog postings about the theory and practice of digital history, and create a digital history project. A major component of the course will involve each student completing a publicly-available digital history project equivalent in scope to a standard research seminar paper. You will also consider issues related to project management, design, outreach, engagement, and evaluation as it pertains to digital historical work. The course offers opportunities to experiment with new technologies and determine how to effectively integrate new media into your historical work.  By working together, we will learn from each other and consider the many tools available for creating digital history projects.

Required Readings and Recommended Books

Most course readings are available online. Those not publicly accessible through the web may be accessed on the course Blackboard page and are listed as such. You are expected to conduct background research and reading specific to your digital history project and may need to purchase materials to do so.

The following books are recommended:

Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig. Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

(Available as a book if you would like to purchase a copy, although available for free online in its entirety at the above link)

Roy Rosenzweig, Clio Wired: The Future of the Past (Columbia, 2011). Essays we will read from this book are available through the Center for History and New Media with links embedded in the syllabus. If you prefer to read from the book, feel free to purchase.

You are expected to provide your own storage medium (CDs, DVDs, flash drives) to maintain your projects.

We will use Omeka to build our digital projects. In the early weeks of the semester, you will receive an invitation to create a username and password to access the Auburn University Omeka platform. Once you establish your password, you will be able to log in from home or on campus. We will explore Omeka and more information will follow in the first few weeks of the term. Support and additional software to help you include various media in your exhibit is also available in the RBD Media and Digital Resource Lab.

You may sign up for a free basic account on if you want to test some (but not all features). For your project, we will have access to a more robust version of Omeka that the library is generously hosting for us.

Assignments and Grading

  1. Public History Conference New Media Plan and Project (15%)
  2. Blogging (30%)
  3. Case Study Presentation (5%)
  4. Digital History Project (40%)
  5. Class Participation (10%)

Grading Scale: A: 90-100%; B: 80-89%; C: 70-79%; D: 60-69%; F: 59% and below

Rules for Written Assignments

For blog assignments, you should post to the course WordPress blog. Please note that this is a public blog on an Auburn server. I encourage you to blog with your name but if for any reason you are uncomfortable sharing your name publicly, feel free to use a pseudonym. If there is a reason that you do not want to share your work on the web, please email or meet with me to discuss alternatives. The blog dialogue is an important aspect of the course and helps achieve course objectives, but I will be happy to accommodate anyone who requires alternative arrangements. Please familiarize yourself with your rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

For all other written assignments, I prefer to receive your assignment electronically via Blackboard in the Assignment Dropbox, but if that is not possible, you may bring a hard copy with you to class and send me an electronic copy via email later. Late assignments will only be accepted if you have a documented excused absence for the day the assignment is due. Furthermore, you must be in class the day an assignment is due to receive credit. With legitimate, documented excuses or for absences arranged ahead of time, exceptions can be made. See the Absences and Make-ups section below for additional information.

All non-blog written assignments should be double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman (or a comparable font), 1” margins. Spelling, mechanics and grammar do matter. Proofread all assignments carefully. Plagiarism will result in a recommendation to the Academic Honesty Committee that you fail the course.

 1.      Public History Conference New Media Plan and Project (15%)

Learning how to be digital historians means discovering how best to use digital technologies in all aspects of scholarship and public historical work. While the latter frequently involves exhibiting and interpreting history online, historians often have to consider how digital media can be used for other aspects of their work, including community engagement, project management, and fundraising. Along these lines, you will have an opportunity to shape the integration and use of new media at an upcoming conference hosted by Auburn University. “Intersections and Meeting Grounds: Public History and Community,” will take place on February 17-18, 2012 with the following sessions focused mainly on Alabama and the South:

  1. Historic Sites, Museums, and Community
  2. Historic Preservation
  3. Digital Media, Crowdsourcing, and Web Communities
  4. Building a Community of Learners and Practitioners: Education and Practice
  5. Heritage Tourism

In small groups (2-3 people), you will be responsible for developing a digital presence for your assigned session, fostering dialogue, and considering how digital resources and tools can be integrated into the conference. You may decide to start a wiki to generate discussion and develop collaborative scholarship, create podcasts on relevant subject matter, use other tools discussed in class, or explore social media possibilities. The opportunities are extensive, but the goal is to develop a new media plan that you can carry out for your specific area.

Professor Shapiro is serving as a co-organizer and will provide additional information to each group about presenters, themes, and questions being distributed to participants. The conference will have a web presence, which will be somewhat similar to the sites the Draughon Center developed for the Auburn Writers Conference here and here.

You will submit a preliminary plan and come to class prepared to discuss your idea, resources needed, goals, team roles and responsibilities, and implementation timeline on September 19. This document (~2-3 pages) should help clarify your group’s thoughts at an early stage in the process and present those thoughts to the class. Feedback will expose flaws and strengths, improving the final product. We will explore ways to collaborate effectively across each panel.

Your final project is due on November 14, when you will also deliver a short group presentation to the class. I will provide additional information about the presentation after you submit your initial plans.

2.      Blogging (30%)

Every student in the class will post regular weekly assignments on the class WordPress blog beginning with the August 29 class (except the weeks of August 22 and October 10). These assignments are listed throughout the syllabus and vary in nature and type. In some instances, you will reflect on and analyze the readings whereas in others you will evaluate digital history resources or issues. Regardless of whether or not you are responding directly to the readings in your weekly blog posting, you should always come to class prepared to discuss them. The blog gives you a chance to explore a particular element of digital history, comment on the readings before class, explore others’ thoughts about the readings, and provides insight into how the class approaches the material. I may use this forum to begin our class discussion. Please post by 6 PM on the Sunday prior to class and visit the site before class (you can use your RSS subscription to see new posts and comments) to examine what others have written. These posts are not intended to be long essays but should reflect upon and analyze the readings rather than summarizing them, providing your thoughts about the material and questions it raises.

In addition to your weekly blog posting, I expect you to provide at least five comments on other student’s posts during the course of the term. Comments should extend and contribute to an ongoing conversation and should clearly offer more than “That’s a great point!” or “I couldn’t disagree with you more.” If you make such a statement, substantiate why. Use the comments to dialogue with colleagues. Commenting offers an opportunity for the original poster to continue in conversation as well. When providing a comment, please do so no later than the end of the day on Wednesday after the class meeting. You may certainly provide a comment before class meets. An essential part of an historian’s work is the ability to engage the work of others, assess its strengths and weaknesses, provide constructive feedback, and, particularly in the digital realm, work in a collaborative manner. As such, I encourage you to respond to your colleague’s digital project assignment posts in one of your comments.

If you have never blogged before, spend some time familiarizing yourself with some existing and past digital history blogs.

You will post materials related to your digital project to the blog, but those are described in more detail in #4 below. So to sum up your blogging requirements for the semester:

  • Reading response blog post: 5 posts
  • Blog Assignment Posts: 7 posts
  • Commenting on another student’s post (or a set of posts): At least 5 comments

3. Case Study Presentation (5%)

You will sign up for one case study demonstration listed on the syllabus and will be responsible for reviewing the resource in class and leading a discussion on it. Your presentation (~15 minutes) should demonstrate the resource and any associated tools and explore what it offers for research, teaching, and public engagement. Your colleagues should familiarize themselves with the resource before class as part of their weekly class preparation.

4. Digital History Project (40%)

You will spend a good portion of the semester on the research, design, and production of a digital history project. This project is to be a work of original historical research, based on primary source documents and secondary sources. The project will take the form of a web exhibit, rather than a traditional paper, and will be evaluated based on the quality and originality of the research, as well as the creativity you bring to bear in presenting the material in a digital format. You will not simply reproduce a paper online, but instead will explore how the web can represent your topic in ways that a published book or article cannot. Knowledge of web design is NOT necessary. I would encourage you to draw on your existing research interests (perhaps something you hope to explore in an MA Thesis or PhD dissertation), although you are free to approach any topic that interests you. You should consider availability of sources as an important element in your decision-making. Please consult individually with me about your project.
Each of you is encouraged (although not required) to use the blog to discuss project planning, research, and implementation. You should also read your colleagues’ posts and comment as appropriate. These activities are a crucial part of the class and a way for me to measure and assess your effort, creativity, research, and progress. Discuss and reflect on hurdles, concerns, and successes. Comment and provide encouragement, insight, and constructive feedback. Most importantly, demonstrate respect for your colleagues and their work. You are part of a community of people going through similar efforts that you can tap into, so do so.

  • Initial Prospectus: (September 7)-Post to blog and submit as document

Your prospectus should include, at minimum:

1)      A clear statement of your project along with a working title and a short description of what your proposed project will accomplish;

2)      A discussion of why this topic is historically important and how is your approach different from what others have already said on the topic (i.e. begin to place the project and scholarship in context);

3)      A discussion of how new media elements will help shape the project;

4)      A brief working bibliography of primary sources related to your topic, including their location and availability, as well as a preliminary survey of relevant secondary sources, both printed and online.

  • Project Proposal: (October 10)- Post to blog and submit as document

Submit a 5-page overview of your digital project including: description of research, rationale for chosen site design and its relationship to the research, discussion of intended audience, justification of research, and an expanded bibliography. Who is the audience? What skills do I have to learn? What is the final product? Are there any models for this work? How will I complete this project in time? What help will I need and where will I get it? What ideas from course readings will be used in the project?

  • Preliminary project presentation: 5-7 min (November 7)

You will deliver a preliminary presentation to the class on November 7 in order for the class to provide feedback on the project and a final presentation on the last day of class, November 28.

  • Final project presentation: 10-15 min (November 28)

I expect the final presentation to be a polished and professional presentation of no more than 15 minutes to an audience of your fellow students, me, and other members of the Auburn University History Department. You will be expected to answer questions following your presentation. Your final presentation should account for comments provided on your November 7 presentation and present your digital project in as complete a form as possible since you have only until Friday, December 2 to complete it.

  • Final digital project due (December 2)

You must complete the digital project by NOON on Friday, December 2. In addition to submitting the final digital project, you must also write a blog post assessing your project that also reflects on the process of creating it.

5. Class Participation (10%)

Attendance is mandatory, with only University-approved excuses recognized as a valid reason for missing class (see Student Conduct below). Students are expected to attend class every day, arrive on time, have read all assigned readings, and participate in class discussions. The Auburn Classroom Behavior Policy is in effect. You should come to class with at least two questions that you want to address based on the weekly readings. These may be discussed in your weekly blog posting. I may ask you to present a question and lead discussion on it.

Student Conduct

This class meets once a week and I expect you to attend every session. You are all responsible adults and can make decisions about your priorities. If extenuating circumstances that you know about in advance will interfere with timely completion of an assignment or class attendance for an excused reason, please make arrangements with me in advance and provide appropriate documentation. If an emergency prevents you from completing an assignment at the scheduled time or attending class, please contact me as quickly as possible and provide appropriate documentation before completing any make-up assignment. Appropriate documentation for all excused absences is required. Please see the Tiger Cub for more information on excused absences. Finally, please turn off or otherwise silence any communication or other electronic device (unless we are using it for class purposes) that might create a disturbance in class.

Students with Disabilities

Students who need accommodations should arrange a meeting with me during the first week of classes, or as soon as possible if accommodations are needed immediately. If you have a conflict with my office hours, an alternate time can be arranged. To set up a meeting, please contact me by email. Bring a copy of your Accommodation Memo and an Instructor Verification Form to the meeting. If you do not have an Accommodation Memo but need accommodations, make an appointment with The Program for Students with Disabilities, 1244 Haley Center, 844-2096.


All readings must be completed before the date on which they are listed. Please read the rather brief August 22 readings in advance of the first class. If changes to the reading schedule are necessary, every attempt will be made to notify the class at least one week in advance.

August 22: Introduction: What is Digital History

Edward L. Ayers, “The Pasts and Futures of Digital History,” (1999).

Dan Cohen, “Professors, Start Your Blogs.”

Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. Read the Introduction and Chapter 1

Marshall Poe, “Fight Bad History with Good, or, Why Historians Must Get on the Web Now,” Historically Speaking 10:2 (2009): 22-23.

WATCH: Michael Wesch, “Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us,” YouTube (31 Jan 2007).

You should complete these tasks on your own after class:

  • Sign up for a Google Reader or another RSS reader account and subscribe to at least three history blogs from Cliopatria’s History Blogroll as well as our course blog (icon in top right sidebar). If you already use an RSS reader, add at least three history blogs.
  • Subscribe and listen to one episode of the Digital Campus podcast. I encourage you to continue listening throughout the semester.


August 29: The Past, Present, and Future of Digital History: Tools and Uses

Daniel J. Cohen, Michael Frisch, Patrick Gallagher, Steven Mintz, Kirsten Sword, Amy Murrell Taylor, William G. Thomas III, and William J. Turkel, “Interchange: The Promise of   Digital History,” Journal of American History 95 (September 2008).

Orville Vernon Burton, “American Digital History,” Social Science Computer Review 23   (Summer 2005): 206-220.

Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid? What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” The Atlantic (Jul/Aug 2008).

Dan Cohen, “The Ivory Tower and the Open Web: Introduction: Burritos, Browsers, and Books  [Draft].”

William G. Thomas II, “Computing and the Historical Imagination,” in Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth, Companion to Digital Humanities (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004).

Christine L. Borgman, “The Digital Future is Now: A Call to Action for the HumanitiesDigital  Humanities Quarterly 3 (Fall 2009).

Tom Scheinfeldt, “Omeka and Its Peers” Found History, 1 September 2010.

VISIT: Omeka (and consider projects that have used Omeka)

Case Study: PhilaPlace–Demo the site and explain how it works, what it accomplishes, and discuss any unique features.

Case Study: Review Best of the Web Winners and discuss how museums are using digital media for history projects.

BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Review the content of the four websites below and post a response exploring the developing field of digital history. You should also consider course readings up to this point.

Center for History and New Media

Digital History-Univ. Houston

Virginia Center for Digital History

Digital History-Univ. Nebraska


September 5 LABOR DAY: NO CLASS–What’s New About New Media?

Jaron Lanier, “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism,” Edge 183 (30 May 2006) and Responses.

Patrick Leary, “Googling the Victorians,” Journal of Victorian Culture 10 (Spring 2005): 72-86.

Lev Manovich, “Database as a Genre of New Media.”

Marshall McLuhan, “Introduction” and “The Medium is the Message” in Understanding Media:The Extensions of Man (1964, 1994). (BLACKBOARD)

Marshall Poe, “The Internet Changes Nothing,” History News Network, 28 November 2010.

Alexis Wichowski, “Survival of the Fittest Tag: Folksonomies, Findability, and the Evolution of  Information Organization,” First Monday 14 (4 May 2009).

WATCH Dan Cohen, “New Directions in Digital History,” 9 December 2008, Case Western Reserve University 2008, Video Lecture.


BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Reading Response (By September 7)

September 12: History of Computing and the World Wide Web

Edward Ayers, “History in Hypertext” (1999).

Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” Atlantic Monthly (July 1945).

Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web by its Inventor (1999), 1-23. (Blackboard) and VISIT:

Ted Friedman, Electric Dreams: Computers in American Culture, 2005. (Intro, Ch. 5 and Ch. 6)

Roy Rosenzweig, “Wizards, Bureaucrats, Warriors, and Hackers: Writing the History of the Internet,” American Historical Review (December 1998).

Alex Wright, Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, 2007, Ch. 11. (Blackboard)

“Internet – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”

Watch: Apple 1984 Ad

BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Look up a historical topic that in some way is connected to your proposed digital history project in Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, and using an internet search engine (Google, Yahoo). Compare three digital treatments of your topic with a more conventional scholarly source, such as a journal article (perhaps from JSTOR, History Cooperative, or Project Muse) or monograph. In a response of approximately 500-700 words, reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of how each format deals with the topic.


September 19: Exploring the Infinite Archive

SUBMIT: Preliminary Public History Conference and New Media Plan

Anthony Grafton, “Future Reading: Digitization and Its Discontents,” The New Yorker,   November 5, 2007 AND “Adventures in Wonderland.”

A Man’s Vision: World Library Online,” San Francisco Chronicle, November 22. 2005.

Internet Archive. “About the Internet Archive,” (n.d.)

Alec Wilkinson, “Remember This? A Project to Record Everything We Do in Life,” The New Yorker (28 May 2007).

Kevin Kelly, “Scan This Book,” New York Times Magazine (14 May 2006).

Robert Darnton, “Google & the Future of Books,New York Review of Books 56 (12 Feb 2009)

Robert Townsend, “Google Books: What’s not to Like?,” AHA Blog, April 30, 2007.

Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail,” Wired 12: 10 (October 2004)


Case Study: Time Magazine Corpus of American English–Consider how this interface enables different kinds of questions. Show us some examples.

Case Study: You Tube Time Machine: Explore the ways this can be used as a historical tool. What are the possibilities and limitations of the archive?

BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Reading Response

September 26: Varieties of Digital History

Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History, Chapter 2, “Getting Started: The Nature of Websites,     and What You Will Need to Create Yours.”  

William G. Thomas, “Democratizing History” (1999) and examine “The Valley of the Shadow:Two Communities in the American Civil War.”

Paula Petrik, “Top Ten Mistakes in Academic Web Design,” History Computer Review (May        2000).

Roy Rosenzweig, “Digital Archives are a Gift of Wisdom to be Used Wisely,” The Chronicle of   Higher Education, 24 June 2005, Vol. 51, Number 42, Page B20.

Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin, “Keeping Up with the Web, 1997–2008: Women and Social Movements in the United States,” AHA Perspectives, May 2009

Douglas Seefeldt and William G. Thomas, “What is Digital History? A Look at Some Exemplar Projects,” AHA Perspectives May 2009

Example proposal from KSU (Lost Kansas)


BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Write an evaluation (500-750 words) of one the following sites (each of you will sign up for one), using the Journal of American History evaluation guidelinesand, where relevant, drawing on the week’s reading. Note especially the questions in the key areas of content, form, audience/use, and new media.


October 3: Authoritative Information and Changing Scholarship

Edward L. Ayers, “Doing Scholarship on the Web: Ten Years of Triumphs–And A           Disappointment,” Chronicle of Higher Education (30 January 2004).

Dan Cohen, “From Babel to Knowledge,” D-Lib Magazine 12:3 (March 2006).

Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, “Web of lies? Historical Knowledge on the Internet.” 2005.

Jerome McGann, “Sustainability: the Elephant in the Room,” from McGann, Online Humanities   Scholarship: The Shape of Things to Come (2010).

David Levy, “No time to think: Reflections on information technology and contemplative scholarship,” Ethics and Information Technology 9 (15 December 2007): 237-249.

Roy Rosenzweig, “The Road to Xanadu: Public and Private Pathways on the History Web,” Journal of American History 88 (September 2001): 548-579.

Lisa Spiro, “Doing Digital Scholarship,” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities blog.

William G. Thomas, “Writing a Digital History Journal Article from Scratch: An Account,”  Digital History (2007)

Robert B. Townsend, “Mission, Media, and Risk: The American Historical Association Online,” Perspectives on History (December 2008).

Peruse: American Council of Learned Societies, Our Cultural Commonwealth, 2006


BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Reading Response

Case Study: Register for a Zotero account and discuss and demonstrate its functionality for maintaining research materials and other uses.


October 10: Past, Present, and Future of Historical Narrative & Collecting History Online

Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History, Chapter 6, “Collecting History Online.”

Daniel J. Cohen, “The Future of Preserving the Past,” June 2005.

Kenneth M. Price, “Edition, Project, Database, Archive, Thematic Research Collection: What’s In a Name?,” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, Summer 2009.

Carl Smith, “Can You Do Serious History on the Web?AHA Perspectives (February 1998). VISIT: “The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory.”

Douglas Linder, “Lessons Learned from Building the Famous Trials Website,” The Jurist  (January 2001) and VISIT: Famous Trials Website

William G. Thomas and Edward Ayers, “The Differences Slavery Made: A Close Analysis of Two American Communities,” American Historical Review (December 2003).

Read one of the following:

Robert Darnton, “An Early Information Society: News and the Media in Eighteenth-century  ParisAmerican Historical Review 105 (February 2000).

Philip J. Ethington, “Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge,” American Historical Review (December 2000).


Case Study: Born Digital Archives–Provide an overview, show a few items, and explore what is novel about these three projects: 1) September 11 Digital Archive 2) April 16 Archive 3) Hurricane Digital Memory Bank



October 17: The Promise of Digital History: Community & Collaboration

Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,”  Journal of American History 93:1 (June 2006), 117-146.

Daniel J. Cohen, “History and the Second Decade of the Web,” Rethinking History 8 (June 2004): 293-301.

Stacy Schiff, “Know It All,” The New Yorker, July 31, 2006.

Roy Rosenzweig, “Scarcity or Abundance?: Preserving the Past in the Digital Era,”           American Historical Review (June 2003).
Lisa Spiro, “Collaborative Authorship in the Humanities” and “Examples of Collaborative Digital Humanities Projects,” Digital Scholarship in the Humanities blog.
Roy Rosenzweig, “Collaboration and the Cyberinfrastructure: Academic collaboration with  museums and libraries in the digital era,” First Monday 12 (2007).

Marshall Poe, “The Hive” The Atlantic (September 2006).


Case Study: Wikipedia: Analyze three related Wikipedia pages and talk pages to explore their history. Teach us how to do this. You may want to watch Heavy Metal Umlaut for some ideas.

Case Study: Explore Flickr, demonstrating how the platform works, how search works, how commenting works, and find some examples with a historical bent. (Ex, this course photo pool).

Case Study: Flickr Commons: Tell us about the history of the project, what different groups are supposed gain from it, and explore the site. Is it accomplishing its goal? Make sure to explore the Library of Congress Flickr Common Pilot Project.

BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Examine the City Lore website, focusing on the “Place Matters” section, which includes several walking tours and a census of places. Post your response to the site, considering how, through the census of places and walking tours, these projects help foster a sense of place and memory on the urban landscape through digital media.


October 24: The Promise and Perils of Digital History: Hypertext, Visualization and New Narratives

Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History, Chapters 3 and 4, “Becoming Digital: Preparing  Historical Materials for the Web” and “Designing for the History Web.”

Michael Jon Jensen, “Evolution, Intelligent Design, Climate Change, and the Scholarly     Ecosystem,” March 2006.

Patricia Cohen, “Digital Maps Are Giving Scholars the Historical Lay of the Land,” NY Times, July 26, 2011.

David J. Staley, “Sequential Art and Historical Narrative: A Visual History of Germany.” Journal of the Association of the History of Computing 5:2 (September 2002).

Martyn Jessop, “Digital Visualization as a Scholarly Activity,” Literary and Linguistic       Computing 23:3 (2008): 281-293.

Joshua Brown, “History and the Web, From the Illustrated Newspaper to Cyberspace: Visual Technologies and Interaction in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries,” June 2004.

Selection from Janet Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace (1997), pp. 65-97. (BLACKBOARD)

Explore Google Earth’s historical imagery and Jefferson’s Travels


Case Study: Wordle: Show us how it works, try to find a few interesting examples of how people have used it, and speculate on its implications for digital history.

Case Study: Voyer : Show us how it works and suggest ideas for how historians can use it.

Case Study: HistoryWired : Show us how it works. Does this change how you think about collections?

Case Study: Many Eyes : Show us how it works and suggest ideas for how historians can use it.

Case Study: Euclid Corridor History Project Demo the site (Art and History Section), how it works, and explore what it accomplishes.

BLOG ASSIGNMENT:  With digitization, it may be more difficult to detect altered or forged sources. Cohen and Rosenzweig discuss George Mahlberg’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Oswald” (1996). For more examples, examine “Pictures that Lie” on CNET News. First, think about these modified sources as a traditional historian. Is there evidence that tells you that they are fakes? Now read about Hany Farid’s research at Dartmouth:

  • Keeping it Real,” The Economist (17 Aug 2006).
  • Steve Casimiro, “Can Photos Be Trusted?Popular Science (1 Sep 2005).
  • In addition to the above items, explore other articles and videos linked at Farid’s site.

Do you think digital manipulation is a serious problem for digital historians or not? How should historians address this issue? Write a balanced assessment in your blog.

October 31: Data, Archives, and the Future and the Culture of Abundance

Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History, Chapter 8, “Preserving Digital History: What We Can Do Today to Help Tomorrow’s Historians.”

Jeffrey Toobin, “Google’s Moon Shot,” The New Yorker, February 2, 2007.

Sheila Brennan and T. Mills Kelly, “Why Collecting History Online is Web 1.5,” March 2009.

Melissa Terras, Digital Images for the Information Professional, (Ashgate, 2008), Selection (Blackboard).

Abby Smith, “Preservation,” in Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth, Companion to  Digital Humanities (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004).

“Appendix” (Introduction and Databases), in Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History.

Mary W. Elings and Gunter Waibel, “Metadata for all: Descriptive standards and metadata  sharing across libraries, archives and museums,” First Monday 12:3 (2007).

PERUSE: Diane Hillmann, “Using Dublin Core.”

Case Study: Hypercities: Provide a sense of the project goals and an example or two.

BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Choose an online archive listed below and review it carefully. Post an idea for a historical research and writing project based on that archive that could not be carried out–or at least not carried out easily–with a print-based archive. Comment briefly on the structure, interface, search, and presentation of sources. Is this a well-structured and user friendly archive? Comment also on any digital tools (for search and discovery, analysis and organization, or presentation and display) that would make it easier for you to complete the research and writing project. The project doesn’t need to be based exclusively on the online resources but they should be a central feature. The goal of the exercise is to think about whether (and, if so, how) research and writing might be different in the digital era.

Online Archives:

Emergence of Advertising in America; Bethlehem Digital History Project; War Department PapersAmerican Memory; Online Archive of California; Einstein Archives ; Rocky Mountain Online Archive; Northwest Digital Archives; Prelinger Archives; Alabama Mosaic


November 7: Changing Museums

DELIVER: Preliminary project presentation: 5-10 min

Selection from Nina Simon, The Participatory Museum (Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0, 2010). READ Preface, Chapters 1 and 6, Conclusion

Bruce Wyman, et al., “ An Ongoing Experiment in Social Tagging, Folksonomy,   and Museums,” in J. Trant and D. Bearman, eds., Museums and the Web 2006: Proceedings, Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, March 1, 2006.

Seb Chan, “QR codes in the museum – problems and opportunities with extended object labels”  5 March 2009.

Peter Samis, “Visual Velcro: Hooking the Visitor,” Museum News (November/December 2007).

Matthew MacArthur, “Can Museums Allow Online Users to Become Participants?”  

Nina Simon, “Discourse in the Blogosphere: What Museums Can Learn from Web 2.0,”    Museums & Social Issues 2, no. 2 (November 2007): 257-274.


BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Reading Response


November 14: Copyright in the Digital World


Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History, Chapter 7, “Owning the Past?: The Digital Historian’s Guide to Copyright and Intellectual Property.”

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and how it  Threatens Creativity (New York: NYU Press, 2001), Introduction and Ch. 1 (Blackboard)

Roy Rosenzweig, “Should Historical Scholarship Be Free?,” April 2005.

LISTEN to Interview with Lawrence Lessig from 22 December 2008 edition of NPR’s Fresh Air and/or WATCH Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture. O’Reilly Open Source Conference, 2002.

Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture, Ch. 10 (Blackboard) OPTIONAL

John Willinsky, “Copyright Contradictions in Scholarly Publishing,” First Monday 7 (4 Nov  2002) OPTIONAL

John Willinsky, The Access Principle (2006) (Blackboard), Selection


BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Reading Response


November 21: Thanksgiving Break-No Class

Make sure to continue work on your digital project.


November 28: Popular and Public History Online

DELIVER: Final Digital project presentation: 10-15 min

Cohen and Rosenzweig, Digital History, Chapter 5, “Building an Audience.”

Watch one of the Smithsonian 2.0 webcasts and be prepared to summarize it in class.

Visit Backstory Radio and listen to one podcast


Listen to one program from one of the following podcasts:

Journal of American History Podcast

BBC’s In Our Time Podcast

Exploring Environmental History Podcast

Nature’s Past Podcast


BLOG ASSIGNMENT:  Drawing on your engagement with two podcast episodes above, explore the differences between how podcasts communicate historical information to their audience compared with other media we have engaged this semester.


FRIDAY DECEMBER 2: Final digital resource DUE by NOON

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