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Clio Wired

Clio Wired: The Future of the Past in the Digital Age

Roy Rosenzweig
Introduction by Anthony Grafton
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Clio Wired
    Book Description:

    In these pathbreaking essays, Roy Rosenzweig charts the impact of new media on teaching, researching, preserving, presenting, and understanding history. Negotiating between the "cyberenthusiasts" who champion technological breakthroughs and the "digital skeptics" who fear the end of traditional humanistic scholarship, Rosenzweig re-envisions the practices and professional rites of academic historians while analyzing and advocating for the achievements of amateur historians.

    While he addresses the perils of "doing history" online, Rosenzweig eloquently identifies the promises of digital work, detailing innovative strategies for powerful searches in primary and secondary sources, the increased opportunities for dialogue and debate, and, most of all, the unprecedented access afforded by the Internet. Rosenzweig draws attention to the opening up of the historical record to new voices, the availability of documents and narratives to new audiences, and the attractions of digital technologies for new and diverse practitioners. Though he celebrates digital history's democratizing influences, Rosenzweig also argues that the future of the past in this digital age can only be ensured through the active resistance to efforts by corporations to control access and profit from the Web.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52171-0
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. INTRODUCTION: Roy Rosenzweig: Scholarship as Community
    (pp. ix-xx)
    Anthony Grafton

    Roy rosenzweig died, much too young, in 2007. Those who knew and loved him—an astonishingly varied group of colleagues and students, neighbors and e-mail correspondents—will feel the loss for years to come. Yet we can still hear his voice. Like many other fine historians, he continues to teach through his books, which convey his passion for reconstructing with learning, craft, and style the experiences of ordinary men and women. He continues to make himself heard in other ways as well, especially through the vast range of collective enterprises, from Web pages to institutions, to which he gave so...

  4. Note to Readers
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)
    Deborah Kaplan
  5. Rethinking History in New Media

    • 1 Scarcity or Abundance? Preserving the Past
      (pp. 3-27)

      On october 11, 2001, the satiric bert is evil! Web site, which displayed photographs of the furry Muppet in Zelig-like proximity to villains such as Adolf Hitler (see figure 1.1), disappeared from the Web—a bit of collateral damage from the September 11th attacks. Following the strange career of Bert Is Evil! shows us possible futures of the past in a digital era—futures that historians need to contemplate more carefully than they have done so far.

      In 1996, Dino Ignacio, a twenty-two-year-old Filipino Web designer, created Bert Is Evil! (“brought to you by the letter H and the CIA”),...

    • 2 Web of Lies? Historical Knowledge on the Internet
      (pp. 28-50)
      Daniel J. Cohen

      In the spring of 2004 when the New York Times decided to offer an assessment of the social and cultural significance of Google (then heading toward its highly successful IPO), it provided the usual sampling of enthusiasts and skeptics. The enthusiasts gushed about the remarkable and serendipitous discoveries made possible by Google’s efficient search of billions of Web pages. Robert McLaughlin described how he tracked down five left-handed guitars robbed from his apartment complex. Orey Steinmann talked about locating the father he had been stolen from (by his mother). And a New York City woman unearthed an outstanding arrest warrant...

    • 3 Wikipedia: Can History Be Open Source?
      (pp. 51-82)

      History is a deeply individualistic craft. The singly authored work is the standard for the profession; only about 6 percent of the more than 32,000 scholarly works indexed since 2000 in the Journal of American History’s comprehensive bibliographic guide, “Recent Scholarship,” have more than one author. Works with several authors—common in the sciences—are even harder to find. Fewer than 500 (less than 2 percent) have three or more authors.¹

      Historical scholarship is also characterized by possessive individualism. Good professional practice (and avoiding charges of plagiarism) requires us to attribute ideas and words to specific historians—we are taught...

  6. Practicing History in New Media:: Teaching, Researching, Presenting, Collecting

    • 4 Historians and Hypertext: Is It More Than Hype?
      (pp. 85-91)
      Steve Brier

      “In ten years or so,” d. h. jonassen predicted more than ten years ago in The Technology of Text (1982), “the book as we know it will be as obsolete as is movable type today.” Jonassen is hardly the only techno-enthusiast to get carried away by the potential of electronic media to reshape the way we consume and read information. More than thirty years ago, Ted Nelson, who coined the term “hypertext,” was already arguing that print books would be obsolete in just five years.

      The 1980s did not see the withering away of the print book, though they did...

    • 5 Rewiring the History and Social Studies Classroom: Needs, Frameworks, Dangers, and Proposals
      (pp. 92-109)
      Randy Bass

      Within five years of alexander graham Bell’s first display of his telephone at the 1876 Centennial Exposition, Scientific American promised that the new device would bring a greater “kinship of humanity” and “nothing less than a new organization of society.” Others were less sanguine, worrying that telephones would spread germs through the wires, destroy local accents, and give authoritarian governments a listening box in the homes of their subjects. The Knights of Columbus fretted that phones might wreck home life, stop people from visiting friends, and create a nation of slugs who would not stir from their desks.¹

      Extravagant predictions...

    • 6 The Riches of Hypertext for Scholarly Journals
      (pp. 110-116)

      Change comes slowly in academic life. Place the American Historical Review from 1899 next to the current, late-1999 issue, and you’ll discover a reassuring continuity. To be sure, the content of the articles has been transformed, with “Creole Bodies in Colonial South Africa” displacing “Connecticut Loyalists.” The selections have also gotten a bit longer, but not drastically so. But the form of the journal and the articles remain largely unchanged—monographic articles are at the front of the journal, book reviews at the back; footnotes at the bottom of the page; about 500 words to the page; articles put their...

    • 7 Should Historical Scholarship Be Free?
      (pp. 117-123)

      On february 3, 2005, the national institutes of Health (NIH) issued a new policy on “Enhancing Public Access to . . . NIH-Funded Research.” It urges NIH-funded researchers to make all their peer-reviewed journal articles available for free to everyone through a central repository called “PubMed Central,” within twelve months of publication in a journal. Although the original force of the initiative was diluted through industry lobbying, the NIH measure represents government recognition of the principle that research, especially government-supported research, belongs to the public, which should not have to pay the prohibitively high subscription charges levied by many scholarly...

    • 8 Collecting History Online
      (pp. 124-152)
      Daniel J. Cohen

      Its very name—the internet—underscores how this advanced computer network exists to shuttle information between and among people. It does not, like print, merely deliver documents from point A (historians) to point B (audience). If we want to make full use of this two-way street, we must go beyond passive “texts” such as Web sites and Web pages and also think about active processes such as communications and interaction.

      To be sure, historians have already largely embraced such activity on the Internet. Almost all of us use e-mail, and an increasing portion use instant messaging and other forms of...

  7. Surveying History in New Media

    • 9 Brave New World or Blind Alley? American History on the World Wide Web
      (pp. 155-178)
      Michael O’Malley

      In august 1995 netscape communications corporation went public at $28 a share; that fall, it briefly reached a peak of $174—an incredible figure for a company making no real profits and whose best-known product was essentially free. Even at year’s end, when the share price settled around $130, its market capitalization was more than $5 billion—greater than the combined market value of the New York Times Corporation and United Airlines. Netscape’s skyrocketing stock price reflected the sudden discovery by investors and the general public of the Internet, the global network of connected computers that communicate with each other...

    • 10 Wizards, Bureaucrats, Warriors, and Hackers: Writing the History of the Internet
      (pp. 179-202)

      Take a look at the standard textbooks on post–World War II America. You will search in vain through the index for references to the Internet or its predecessor, the ARPANET; even mentions of “computers” are few and far between. The gap is hardly a unique fault of these authors; after all, before 1988, the New York Times mentioned the Internet only once—in a brief aside. Still, it is a fair guess that the textbooks of the next century will devote considerable attention to the Internet and the larger changes in information and communications technology that have emerged so...

    • 11 The Road to Xanadu: Public and Private Pathways on the History Web
      (pp. 203-236)

      On august 24, 1965, theodor nelson presented a paper to the Association for Computing Machinery national conference in which he introduced the word “hypertext” to refer to “a body of written or pictorial material interconnected in such a complex way that it could not conveniently be presented or represented on paper.” Nelson, who had started musing about this sort of associative thinking and linking as a Harvard University graduate student in 1960, viewed “hypertext” as an integral part of an imagined globally interconnected library and publishing system that would “grow indefinitely, gradually including more and more of the world’s written...

    (pp. 237-240)
  9. NOTES
    (pp. 241-296)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 297-310)