We have already discussed the digital humanities definition, but this is continued in the lareviewofbooks.org site. While the term itself “does not tell us anything useful,” there is a value in the digital medium. The digital medium, as identified by this site, is one with a larger public impact than ones without a digital presence. For example, if the Venus Jones project had no website to accompany it, the information would be limited to only those who would go into the physical Jepson building. Another point by this website discusses the necessity of shared and cooperative work within the digital humanities. The jah.oah.org site had a breakdown of digital history projects, and there was a large variety of project types (for example, I would not have thought of a journal or a blog as digital history, but it qualifies as part of the category here. I also never would have considered games as Digital History, even though games like Assassin’s Creed are completed with thorough research.)
There is not just a difference in presentation of the project or outreach the project. Even research itself has revolutionized with the usage of technology. In the “Waiting for Web 2.0: Archives and Teaching Undergraduates in a Digital Age” reading, the author discussed how in the 90s, students would go to the library for published collections of primary sources, but now much of that content is available in an online format. While this accessibility has strengthened research, it has also extended the expectations of the students conducting research. During the author’s first years of teaching, students could not be expected to do substantive research in archival materials. However, now the accessibility of the materials makes such in depth research an expectation. There is also a possibility for the difficulty of navigating rapidly changing databases and technology. To loosely quote an unnamed history professor at UMW, “I usually have students make websites as part of the course, but now that it updated, I’m not sure how to help you with it. So I am removing it as part of the course.” There is also an issue of quality. Poor transcriptions, bad metadata, unusable scans, and typos can plague sites. There is also the fact that anyone can post online, so the issue of inaccurate and discredited information is a risk.
With all of that in mind, I may be biased, but I enjoy the direction that digital history is heading in. It makes history available to everyone who seeks it.