For being a class I decided to take on a whim, History 305: Digital Methods was by far the most enjoyable class I have had all semester. Before this class, I already had a love for history (hence being a history major) as well as a love for digital creative arts and platforms. It wasn’t until this semester that I had really considered the possibilities of combining the two as a potential career pathway for myself. I gained a new appreciation for digital platforms from a historical perspective.
For example, I found the connections between the Assassin’s Creed franchise and the original maps of Boston extremely fascinating as well as the potential to integrate these historical layouts into virtual reality simulators. In addition to seeing history being portrayed in games, I highly enjoyed the discussions sprouting from these visuals about whether or not historical accuracy should be a major factor in the development of these games. I remember having a great interest in this topic when the games “Oregon Trail” and “JFK: Reloaded” because of the pull factors to non-history majors still forces players to interact with historical aspects even if they aren’t entirely accurate.
Moving away from the gaming platforms for history, just the idea of having artifacts online blew my mind a little. Since I was taking History 301 simultaneously with this class, I felt a greater appreciation for the work it takes to make an archive and have primary source materials publically available online. My topic for my 301 research paper was about yellowface in the 1930s to the 1960s. I noticed that collective amounts of information were extremely limited on the subject and I set out to make a film archive of my own with the help of a fellow student, Sid. With Omeka as our platform, we successfully logged 92 films that had some sort of yellowface presence in order to educate the public on existence of the unspoken discrimination against people of Asian descent.The effort to input all of our information manually was probably the most tedious part of the entire process but the results made me extremely proud of what I had accomplished.
Would I recommend this class to other history majors or even non-history majors? Absolutely! As we progress into a new age where everything is becoming digital, our history as a society also has to transition into digital preservation in the case that the original artifact somehow becomes destroyed forever.