Blog Post

Digital History: A Two-Part Series

Hello Digital Historians,

This year is flying by! With roughly two months left in the semester, we aim to stimulate discussion about the ways historians are engaging in the digital humanities through a series of eight blog posts. Over the next eight weeks we will cover Digital History topics divided into a two-part series. Series One will focus on “Digital Tools for the Historian”, while Series Two centers on “Pedagogy, Public History and the Professional Environment.” Below you’ll find a bit of information on each of the series. We look forward to your participation, collaboration, discussion, and suggestions! Also, please don’t hesitate to post your own blogs and comments to the page as the discussions develop.

Tina Davidson

Ben Weber


Series One: “Digital Tools for the Historian” (Oct. 22- Nov. 12)

Over the past decade, technology has made access to new tools and methods increasingly available to the historian. Mapping systems like GIS have allowed historians to visualize archival data by tracking trends and networks across space. Digital databases offer an expanded system of information sharing and archiving, while “Culturomics” have rejuvenated the field of discourse analysis. As the possibilities grow, historians are working out new ways to incorporate these tools into their research. In this four-week series, we will focus on digital tools and their application for historical research.

Week One: “Mapping and Spatial History”

Week Two: “Digital Timelines”

Week Three: “Visualizing History”

Week Four: “Utilizing Digital Database & Culturomics”


Series Two: “Pedagogy, Public History & the Professional Environment” (Nov. 19- Dec. 10)

While digital tools open new possibilities for research, they also present a number of challenges to the field of History. Many of the challenges that historians face are similar to those in other fields, but some are specific to History. For example, how have museums and public history changed in light of new technologies? What specific problems do historians face when they try to incorporate technology into the classroom? Additionally, what does it mean to be a “digital historian” in today’s professional environment?  During this series, we will address these issues in detail as we explore ways that scholars are applying digital technology to the following areas.

Week Five: “Museums and Public History in the Digital Age”

Week Six: “Digitizing History Education”

Week Seven: “(Re)writing History - Post-Monograph?”

Week Eight: “Professional Development”














Thanks for posting this Christina,

Since we have ten founding members, we thought it would be great if we each signed up for a week and kicked off the discussion with a blog posting introducing that week’s theme and sharing some related ideas and/or resources. If you don’t see a topic among these first eight please feel free to modify one of the weekly topics to better fit your interests.

Easiest way is probably to just do it “first come, first served” – so just reply here in the comment section or message me and Christina with your preference of week and we will make a list. If you have a second choice please list that as well because that will make it much easier if multiple people sign up for the same week.

Our aim is to post the intro blog on Sunday and then to comment over the course of the week but we will stay super flexible in order to accommodate everyone.

Looking forward to getting started!


Hey guys,

I think this is a fantastic idea. I'd love to take on Week 5 about Museums and Digital History; if that week is already spoken for I'd take any of weeks 1 through 3. I'm looking forward to this series!




Sounds good to me Abby! No one else thus far has spoken up for Week 5. It's yours! Yay!


I can tackle week 7 but I'm willing to switch if anyone feels strongly about it. Second choice, week 8.

-- Erika.


Great Erika! Looking forward to your post for week 7. - T


I can go ahead and take week one, and will aim to have a post on mapping and spatial history up by tonight or tomorrow morning. 


Thank you Ben for an excellent post on Mapping last week.  Let's continue the discussion! I'll try to have a post up by early Monday morning on Digital Timelines.

Also, just wanted to remind everyone that these discussions are never closed. Please continue to respond to Ben's post (and the others as they come).  Additionally, if you have your own idea, feel free to write a blog or sign up for one of the weeks if you haven't already done so.  We'd love to hear from you!


Would anyone like to take week 3 - "visualizing history" - and post some introductory thoughts by this Sunday?

If you want to post something entirely different from visualizations but related to digital history that would be perfectly fine as well. 

Looking forward to continued conversations and sharing of ideas!


Hi All:

   I've curated a few exhibits at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and collected oral histories for the Southern Foodways Alliance (a great resource for digitized history related to Southern Foodways).  I would be happy to cover week 6's focus on public history.




Hey! This blog might be helpful in preparing the post.



Thanks for mentioning the Southern Foodway Alliance! I'd never heard of it before, but based on your comment, I actually featured the BBQ Trail as a great folklore project in a lecture I did for undergrads about public history in the digital age. I'm looking forward to more from you about this project! (Plus, I love the idea of actually going on the BBQ trail. :)




I actually produced a performance art piece about my own life for a national Chicano Studies conference that is a visual historiography. I just performed it again last week at Wellesley College for a Chicano film history class. The goal of the piece was to present a personal timeline as it related to actual history. It is a multi layered short film using found footage, google maps, stills, sounds and a graphic timeline. The performance part is a prose where I speak to parts of the voice over during the film. Right now my videographer and I are mapping out how to present this work online. I have been asked by a number of educators to do this because it does a nice job of presenting the timeline of my life as it follows points in history.

One of the goals of our Chicana Por Mi Raza site is to present visualizations of cultural historical fact as those facts relate to the younger scholar. That was why I created the piece. I can talk more about the specifics of the content.




We will look forward to hearing more about Linda's exciting visual historiography project for next week (week 3) and to Ashley's Southern Foodways post for week 6. 

That leaves only weeks 4 - "utilizing digital databases" - and 8 - "professional development" - left for our eight week blogging series introducing some of the major topics in digital history.

Please feel free to suggest your own topic in place of either of these as the inspiration strikes you; in proposing these general topics we just wanted to provide some loose structure in order to cover some of the ground in the evolving field of digital history and get the group momentum going.


I'm doing my dissertation on mobile Augmented Reality Games for teaching history (specifically Jewish and minority history) and would like to contribute to, but not run week 3.

I've found this to be a key text regarding visualization and history:


Computers, Visualization, and History: How New Technology Will Transform Our Understanding of the Past (History, Humanities, and New Technology) [Paperback]

David J. Staley (Author)

Have others dug into this text yet?


Hey Owen,

Your work sounds fascinating! What if we make Week 4 "Digital Historical Games"? Would you be willing to write a short blog post telling us more about your experiences and ideas on this topic?No pressure, just some thoughts to get a discussion started.  What do you think?




Hey Everyone!
Be sure to catch Linda's Week 3 post "Creating 'No Es Facil': A Visual Historiography."  Thank you Linda for keeping the Series going! I'm looking forward to the comments and discussions.


Hey all, 

We will all be wishing Owen all the best as he defends his dissertation, but this also means that he is too busy to make week 4 into a "Digital Historical Games" week. 

Here are a couple options for keeping us on track with the schedule Tina initially proposed:

A. We skip Week 4 (tomorrow's post on "digital databases") and spend this coming week on Linda's Visualizing History Post (combing week 3 into week 4). 

B. Someone offers to introduce the originally-slated topic for Week 4 - "Digital Databases" - and posts a discussion by tomorrow or Monday. 

C. We move everything back one week if someone is particularly excited to get the discussion of "digital databases" going by next Sunday. 

Personally, I think the best thing to do might be to spend some extra time on "Visualizing History" and look forward to Abby's Week 5 post on "Museums and Public History" next Sunday, Nov. 18, but am up for whatever you all want to do. 


After hearing from a few of you it seems that group members prefer to push things back one week as opposed to skip a week, so the revised schedule looks as follows. As always, please feel free to propose your own weekly topic in place of one of the ones listed below if inspiration strikes.  

Nov. 18: Week 4 - Utilizing digitized databases - ? (Ben/Tina will post something if no one else takes this week).

Nov. 25: Week 5 - Museums and Public History - Abby

Dec. 2: Week 6 - Digitizing History Education - Ashley

Dec. 9: Week 7 - (Re)writing History Post-Monograph - Erika

Dec. 16: Week 8 - Professional Development - ? 

Looking forward to continued conversations!



New post on the topic of digital timelines and historical consciousness when teaching undergraduates, if this is of interest to anyone involved in latest discussion of timelines.

There is a Timeline, Turn, Turn, Turn: Getting Timelines Wrong, Getting History Right 


And here:




Thank you Michael!  I'll add the information to the Timeline blog.





Hi All:

  I think I made a typo in my request for writing up about Musuems and Public History.  I mistyped "week 6" rather than "week 5."  Are there any major objections for me discussing my work in oral histories and the publication of these materials online Dec. 2?




Hi Ashley,

I do not think that would be a problem. We want to include what you had proposed earlier. Looking forward to your post on Dec. 2.



Hello, everyone! I hope you are well and that your week is off to a good start.

I am willing and able to write about Professional Development on Dec 16th!

Tammy L Brown


Great!  We look forward to hearing from Tammy on Week 8.



Hey Everyone! Thanks for participating in the series. You can find a summary of the Two-Part Series and links to all of the blog posts and bloggers' pages here