History 305 Digital Methods in History proved to be a very beneficial experience and one that taught me a lot. Through this course, I understand a completely different method of history research that I have not even considered before. From digital archiving, creating history-based blogs, or simply conveying an argument through digital methods such as maps or timelines, history is still an evolving subject and I am glad to have been exposed to the different aspects in its growth.
My perspectives and approaches to sources and evidence has changed greatly due to digital history sources. I have learned how to differentiate between credible and noncredible online sources. It’s important to look at the experience of the person in charge of the digital source and to look at the references they used. I also learned that, even though history can be studied through digital methods, that is not an invitation abandon traditional means of studying in the field (we still need to visit a library every now and then). A very useful tool I found through this course, even though I did not take as much advantage of it as much as I should have, was hypothes.is. The ability to annotate web pages and filter which annotations you could see can be very useful to anyone working in groups, especially those in history. It allows people to see how others think about a certain topic.
Digital history has also encouraged me to think differently about historical concepts. Through digital methods, it is easier to think of topics in a more “complete” way. Rather than following a completely linear path in history research, digital history allowed me to branch off in my thoughts while still staying organized on topic. This proved to be especially true in Twine. Although most of my knowledge of Twine comes from taking History 306 Playing the Past, it is still a beneficial tool in digital history. Twine requires creators of history-based games to understand the ins and outs of their topics. By making a game, one must understand their topic in depth and understand way more than they actually put in their game’s final product. History-based Twine games encourages their creators to truly understand history and different methods of studying history.
Digital history deepened my understanding of the work of historians. Simply put, it is a lot of work. As stated above with the Twine example, digital history requires one to truly understand their topic. It is much easier to fake knowledge on a paper than on a website or timemap, at least from my experience. To be successful in digital history, and history altogether, one must have a thorough understanding of what they are talking about.
As time goes on, digital history will prove its benefits. Digital history practically future-proofs the field. As technology grows, so does digital history, and new digital history methods will constantly come out, keeping the history field relevant in a time where only technology-based fields seem to be growing. Although it is still young, digital history will grow to protect history, keeping it from dying off. The methods used in digital history can be applied everywhere. Using digital history methods like group annotation (as stated above), making group websites, and always providing others with knowledge can prove to be useful in any field or workplace, especially when working with groups.
My project was a great way for me to practice many of the skills I learned in History 305. Making a time map, I had to research to understand my research and structure a time period around it. This was very difficult because Alexander the Great was alive in the BC era. Because of this my group and I had to search through numerous documents to find a single date associated with certain events. With the group project we had to use google docs and sheets to work on projects as a group to be able to work at different times and it proved to be very useful for collaborative efforts. I am proud with the work my group and I have done and I believe our website, atg.digital-methods.com, proves to be a great example of digital history.