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childrens bedroom furniture said in March 5th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I cant see why anyone would disagree with you digital technology has already taken over just about everything why not in the class room?

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JTF said in April 21st, 2010 at 11:19 am

I firmly believe that online sources like this are vital to conducting research and reading assignments in general. However, I still believe that researching from a book is easier due to the fact that you don’t have to strain your eyes reading form a screen and can highlight and so on. But sites like these with attached essays are extremely helpful and i especially like the interactive essay. everything you need is right there and you can go through it and search for what you need specifically without having to read the whole thing. As students this can be helpful when doing assignments for class and as researchers when working on paper and or projects. I believe that there must be a balance between written texts (books) and web based areas of research such as this. If their can be a balance the future will be great for teachers, researchers, and students alike.

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Sacksby Chambliss said in April 21st, 2010 at 5:07 pm

One of the more interesting aspects of Prof. Pinsker’s essay was the contrast between the digital revolution and the effects photography had on the 19th century art world. Photographic clarity led to abstract art, but historical clarity (via new digital tools) enables us to learn with greater precision and specificity.

As someone who, like many of my generation, has vaguely learned and relearned aspects of American history, I find digital tools an interesting and useful reprieve from traditional educational approaches. While I prefer reading from books, researching is without a doubt made easier with full text search and other digital tools. Furthermore, the internet provides novices like me an outlet to voice my historical interpretations/opinions. I can now use blogs or contribute to forums for example. In the past it seems to me like the historical field was more exclusive – research and findings were published in scholarly books and articles. While the digital approach is of course a double edged sword (because it enables people to propagate potentially false information) it ultimately provides for more direct link to education.

As far as I’m concerned new techs can only enhance learning. Until very recently just about the only way to acquire historical knowledge was to read books (a task that people are finding increasingly daunting these days). Although I have no problem with books, I find that they rarely bring history to life as it should be. Technology does not just provide access to more information, it creates useful ways of viewing/thinking about it. For example, relevant insights can be gained from tools like the word cloud or the historical tours on google earth. Digital possibilities for history are expansive, even though they may not always lead to revisionism. Like most other subjects, history will have to adapt to digital trends to stay accessible (and relevant). Just as newspapers didn’t die with the advent of radio and radio didn’t die with the advent of tv, books aren’t going anywhere just because info is available online. Digital history will contribute to a more vibrant discussion, but will not destroy other more traditional medium.

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KTC said in April 21st, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I think that the digital resource is definitely a revolutionary contribution to the history studies. First of all, it makes research much easier. All the databases we can access online make an undergraduate history research much more practical and fruitful. It is rather unrealistic to ask a history major student to spend a week to look for some primary sources in archive. Even with the digital resource, we still need to do a lot of reading and examining in order to find out really useful primary sources. In a certain sense, finding primary sources is largely dependent on luck. The digital resource significantly increases our chance of discovering helpful primary sources. Secondly, the digital resource gives more people the chance to interpret history by themselves. Since all the primary sources are available, everybody can be a historian, though an amateur one. Some people may object that the digital resource would hurt history studies since it makes research too easy and leave out many important materials which have not yet been put online. However, digital resource is just the first step to do a comprehensive research. It can provide the researcher a correct direction to pursue and some inspirations. If one really wants to dig deeper and strive to be a better historian, spending years in archives is an inevitable experience. However, for most undergraduate students, digital resource online is overly abundant. My using of the ancestry library is especially a fruitful journey of finding primary sources. This database provides me the opportunity to look at the census records and customs records in the 1850s which I would not be able to find otherwise.

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stancoc said in April 21st, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Digital resources are extremely useful because they allow material to be presented in interesting ways that traditional mediums,like books and articles, cannot portray. Digital materials are also important for history because they allow primary and secondary sources to be widely and easily accessed. The interactive essay from the Lincoln materials was very useful and interesting. This is because the interactive essay expanded on the ideas in the text by providing links to relevant information. I believe that material like this is one of the best ways to utilize digital content because it allows easy access to different forms of information that supplement the text.

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jacobsca said in April 21st, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Although technology is inevitable and it will help to progress everyones ability to learn about their past and their country’s past I am still not ready to admit that technology is necessary. I am old fashion but there is something to having to go to the library and search for books or go to the archives and go through history upon history in order to find your research. You personally benefit more if you do research on your own opposed to sitting on your computer and surfing the web. Plus this way of research keeps with tradition and links you more to past historians. I cannot fight the idea that technology will foster a new age of research and learning but I can fight technology just for a little but longer.

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TK said in April 21st, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Digital resources are key in doing research on a small subject of a broad topic. The internet allows for a person to find many sources relating to a sometimes seemingly irrelevant small detail. The only downside I see to digital resources is that people will be more and more driven to use only the internet and not books (which may not be in a digital form), so they would be missing out on some information that could be crucial to their research because they are relying solely on the internet.

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niedermk said in April 21st, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I can see why historians such as Catherine Clinton and Michael Holt can find objections to Professor Pinsker’s heavy promotion of the use of digital technology. However, I think that the use of technology for historical research is imperative for historical research the future. I too think that technological historical bases are extremely helpful to undergraduates. Interactive websites, such as the one provided above, are helpful in contextualizing information that might otherwise be difficult to interpret. I find the word clouds to be particularly helpful. With that said, I think that making historical documents available online should not replace further research because obviously it will be nearly impossible to get every historical document to be available online. Additionally, I think with the rising prevalence of technology in our society, I do not see how there is any option other than making history more technologically accessible. In my opinion, it is just a matter of time before virtually every aspect of our lives becomes enhanced by some sort of technology so why not incorporate history?

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Takehiko Takahashi said in April 21st, 2010 at 8:37 pm

I believe that these digital resources make research faster, and therefore more efficient. The word cloud effect for the Lincoln-Douglas Debates is a prime example. Through this program any person can find out which words were said the most during each of the debates. From there, a person can then locate the most important words in the debates and view them in the context in which they were used. Researching the traditional way by reading the content and then meticulously highlighting every time slave or slavery was said is very slow process. Now, researchers can quickly find the major words said and then interpret them in the context and issues of the period. The word cloud is just one of many examples of digital resources that can help make researching faster and more effective.

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Hank Williams Jr said in April 22nd, 2010 at 8:42 am

No one can deny that technology controls the future. Just like Professor Pinsker explained on Tuesday that smart phones are going to revolutionize the way people visit historical sites, the ease and availability of digital resources open up thousands of opportunities for scholarship. JSTOR, House Divided, 19th Century Newspapers and Ancestry.com are all prime examples of how sources, once buried in archives much like the microfilm containing information on Lincoln, are now readily accessible to the masses. I think that this wealth of easy to use material is beneficial, and it is best to just accept that this is where technological advancements are taking us.

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chobanim said in April 22nd, 2010 at 8:56 am

I am very traditional in regards to historical research and find much of my fascination with history arises out of the independence and liberty that the research process generates. With the materials not so easily at hand, one has to establish their own path in researching—filtering through tertiary sources, scholarly works, and then primary sources—to formulate an individual thesis and argument. As an undergraduate so-called historian-in-the-making, I am attracted to the conventional methods of the research process, but I do understand that, as Catherine Clinton stated, “we are in a period of transition.”
As such, like everyone else, historians must bear to manage the change directly. In a positive light, digitizing documents make research easier and faster, as well as less financially burdensome (take, for example, the interactive essay and the full-text recollections). Furthermore, with the developing technology, such graphs and maps—like the hypergraph, timemap, and word cloud—can be created to instigate new insight on a seemingly exhausted topic (for example, the word cloud technology sheds light on the significance of word usage in various documents). Even though this technological evolution is unavoidable and historians must be prepared for it, I still find the apparently “dated” method of historical research essential.
I am not against amateur historians, but easy access to materials can undeniably allow almost anyone to voice their perspective on a topic—the gradations of education may then become democratized. Moreover, although I advocate Professor Pinsker’s immense efforts to adapt to this global transformation in technology, I agree with Professor Holt on a criticism of Pinsker’s outlook: “Pinsker seems to believe that fresh and compelling interpretations of Lincoln depends on as-yet-unrecovered evidence rather than on rethinking what we already know, even though we may not have looked at the already available information as closely as we should have.”

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Evil Jared said in April 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am

It’s strange to think that for our age group, all we have ever known of research has been based on computers and research technology. The idea of having to go to different libraries or databases to find information is so foreign to us now, and seems almost tedious. The future of historical research, along with the future of everything else, is going to be based on the internet and the information age technology. These new methods can be extremely beneficial not only as researchers, but as contributers as well. It is possible now for any average person to publish new findings online at little (or no) cost.

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gmazzoli said in April 22nd, 2010 at 10:33 am

Lincoln’s future is digital? Of course it is…but then again everything is. The rapid rise of technology and its prevalence in modern society makes it impossible to say otherwise; denying the fact that history, or anything else, is moving towards the digital age is simply ignorant. I believe what is most important is that the stigma of technology use for academic purposes will eventually fall. Yes, Wikipedia is still a source unfit to use in academic purposes, but I truly think that it, or something similar, has the potential to become a respected source in academia. Web 2.0 concepts are strange, yes, but effective, and putting research on Lincoln into the same context can only help the field.
The most important aspect of this digitization is the accessibility it gives to the common person. Yes, some may claim that allowing everyone access to the entirety of Lincoln research will water down the field. Again it would be ignorant to ignore the voices of non-professional historians; the study of Lincoln can only benefit from the views of many people, and truly the best way to do so is to create digital resources that all can use easily. I truly do commend Prof. Pinsker and others like him for working to advance his field…without him, the study of Lincoln, and history in general, would be left in the dust.

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hirschj said in April 22nd, 2010 at 11:41 am

I agree with Professor Pinsker’s assertion that the digital age should be utilized for greater access to resources. We live in an era of technological advancement and to not utilize this resource to our advantage is shameful. Throughout history people have been taking advantage of the resources that were available, and using them to further their studies. I fail to see how the digital age is any different than any other advancement. For example, when Professor Donald gave his class a floppy disk (as articulated in Professor Pinsker’s essay) he was using innovation to his benefit. Why would we not implement the tools we are given?
The digital age has helped me in history classes. Earlier this semester I wrote a paper on the kidnapper of Solomon Northup. Without the help of online census records and tax forms, I would never been able to write this paper. One of the reasons why this paper was enriching was the mere fact that I had the capacity to access all these resources that was impossible a few years ago. We cannot be stagnant in our pursuit of knowledge, and not using all of our resources to further our studies is detrimental to the education system on the whole.

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sk said in April 22nd, 2010 at 11:55 am

Digital resources have become key to doing research and in the classroom as an aide. The only negative to using digital resources is that it takes away from the use of books, which have been our resources for so many years in the past. However it is always good to improve and increase the accessability of information so moving in this direction of the digital is benefical.

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smithti said in April 22nd, 2010 at 11:57 am

I don’t think there is any question that digital resources are revolutionizing the way we research and discover new materials. The wealth of information that is collected online gives us easy access to information that we never could have found in the past. The work of individuals, such as that done at House Divided, where people transcribe various letters, diary entries, newspapers, etc. into a fully searchable digital archives is just one example of this rapidly expanding tool. Over time, more and more of these hand-written primary sources will be digitized and made available to everyone.
Pieces of work, such as Russell Toris’ interactive essay, enable us to produce work that is no longer linear as it is in books. These tools make learning much more entertaining and allow us to be fully immersed in the topics we are learning about.
The rising conversion of historical sources into digital format helps bring history to life.

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Jason said in January 10th, 2012 at 7:40 am

Digital media is going to be really big in near future. And the boom of internet is primary reason behind this phenomenon. Although the traditional marketing will not die but the application of the traditional media will surely change.

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