Making history online

Hitchcock, Tim and Shoemaker, Robert (2015) Making history online. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 25. pp. 75-93. ISSN 0080-4401

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This article considers the implications of recent innovations in digital history for the relationship between the academy and the public. It argues that while digitisation and the internet have attracted large new audiences, academic historians have been reluctant to engage with this new public. We suggest that recent innovations in academic digital history, such as the highly technocratic ‘Culturomics’ movement, have had the unintended effect of driving a wedge between higher education and the wider public. Similarly, academic history writing has been slow to embrace the possibilities of the internet as a means of dissemination and engagement; and academic publishing has moved even more reluctantly. Despite these issues, this article argues that the internet offers real opportunities for bridging the divide between the academy and a wider audience. Through non-traditional forms of publication such as blogging; through Open Access policies; and through new forms of visualisation of complex data, the digital and online allow us to present complex history to a wider audience. We conclude that historians need to embrace the ‘affordances’ and ‘disruptions’ posed by the internet to render the discipline more open and democratically accessible.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: digital history, public history
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
D History General and Old World
Depositing User: Timothy Hitchcock
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2015 09:38
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 01:30

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