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Digital History - Book Review Spring Series Recap

During the spring semester of 2014, the HASTAC Digital History Group presented the second part of its yearlong book review series. The goal of the series was to provide reviews of academic books that address the study of history and the digital humanities. Some of the questions that we asked reviewers to think about were: In what ways have these new publications innovated in the field? How do they relate to other historical works? And, what do they reveal about the use of digital methods to study history?

Between January and June, five reviews were posted. Each of the authors, graduate students and Ph.Ds, provided summaries and in-depth analysis on texts that cover the study and teaching of history in the digital age. The books reviewed with links to the reviews are listed below, as well as links to all off our reviewers’ HASTAC pages. A special thank you to all of our spring semester reviewers for their hard work and commitment to making this second part of the series a success!

To the HASTAC community, please join us in spreading the word about these reviews. Forward them to your friends and colleagues, and add any comments and questions to the pages linked below. For more information about the first part of the book review series, which took place last fall (2013), please click here.


Daniel J. Cohen & Roy Rosenzweig. Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005)

“Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig wrote Digital History at a critical landmark in the history of higher education: the 10-year anniversary of the Mosaic 1.0 web browser. With a decade of experimentation, successes, and failures in Digital History initiatives, these authors set out to reflect on the consequences of the internet on the discipline of history.” – Ashley Young, PhD Candidate at Duke University


David Golumbia. The Cultural Logic of Computation (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009)

The Cultural Logic of Computation is a rewarding read. It is a dense theoretical work that at times opens up more questions than it satisfactorily answers, but those questions are important for [Golumbia] asks us to shift from technical questions to questions about the role and function of computers in our lives and their political and cultural impact.  For all of the talk of "more hack, less yack" in the digital humanities and programming, Golumbia offers a sobering reminder to question what exactly we are hacking.” Lauren Tilton, PhD Candidate at Yale University


Lauren Rabinovitz and Abraham Geil, Eds. Memory Bytes: History, Technology, and Digital Culture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004)

“The twelve articles within Memory Bytes do not dull digital culture’s sharpness or lessen its significance. Instead, the book [puts digital culture] in its proper place within the pantheon of media cultures. This potentially underappreciated task is accomplished through a series of interdisciplinary and inter-methodological articles that frame the social, mechanical, and economic histories of under-discussed mediums.” – Evan Johnson, PhD Student at the University of Texas Dallas?


Daniel J. Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, Eds. Hacking the Academy: New Approaches to Scholarship and Teaching from Digital Humanities (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2013)

“In Hacking the Academy, Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt bring together in print-form a selection of the essays and conversations originally published in the online version of the “Book Crowd Sourced in One Week” at, which launched in September 2011[This book] is an excellent primer for anyone interested in some concrete ways in which the academy is evolving to encompass the Digital Humanities, and raises pertinent questions and concerns for the future.” – Maryam Patton, History Student at Princeton University


Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, Trish Cashen, and Hazel Gardiner. Digital Art History: A Subject in Transition (Bristol: Intellect, 2005).

“Nearly a decade on, there is much about Digital Art History: A Subject in Transition that remains of interest to those wondering about the relationship of art history and digital scholarship…Individually, each essay is strong and represents a great deal of behind-the-scenes labor; together, they give a picture of the state of the art [world] as it was in 2005…Yet…Digital Art History reveals that art historians tend to still be asking the same questions now as they were asking ten years ago…It is time to envision our next step.” – Ana-Sophia Zingarelli, MLIS Student at the University of Pittsburgh


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