Wow I can’t believe it is all over. This paper has been very enjoyable and rewarding. It was refreshing doing assignments that were a lot different to the experience i have had with other history papers. Learning all about the positive and negative aspects of digital history was fascinating and ultimately led me to the conclusion that digital history is the way forward. These positive aspects such as Digital Storytelling, New Media in Museums, Genealogy research and increasing accessibility has helped propel history into the digital age. It is surely an exciting time to be interested in history.
The Website analysis was an interesting assignment and although Nadia was unimpressed with the results, i certainly learnt about the value of some historical websites over others.This was the first time i have blogged and found that it was a very valuable tool in reflecting what we have learnt from the lectures. It was refreshing using a more informal way to share different aspects of digital history. The online discussion was also a nice addition to the paper and added further digital involvement. I was looking forward to the group project and it certainly delivered. My group worked well and I was never worried or nervous about it, thanks to TJ, Daniel, Lauren and Micheal, you guys are all great people. Overall the assignments were a lot different than what i was used to but it was a good thing. It feels marvelous not having a massive essay to do at the end of a history paper!
Thanks to Cathy and Nadia for delivering this awesome paper and I will definitely recommend it to other students.
The group presentations were very well done and I was impressed with the imagination and creativity of the projects.
Group A had some brilliant ideas regarding a dance exhibition which would involve visitors both intellectually and kinetically. I also learnt about the importance these dances had on our grandparents social lives and its certainly something i had never thought about before. They had even thought about using QR codes which is very relevant in today’s digital age.
As someone who was born and raised in Taupo I was very interested in the topic that Group B presented. They had some good ideas about a mobile app that would help show people important historical places around the Taupo area. The thing that stood out for me though was the mention of John Te H. Grace’s book on Tuwharetoa. I was fortunate to grow up with this book in our family bookshelf and it truly is the go to book in regards to the history of the Maori people around Taupo. This showed me that Group B clearly knew the details of their project.
It was an absolute pleasure working with my group. From the start our team meshed well together with our shared topic on the ANZAC day centennial. Although there were some personal problems everyone contributed and we always seemed to be ahead of the curve.
And on that note I am looking forward to the next presentation on Friday.
On Friday we were treated to an informative lecture by John Robson about the role of Genealogy in Historical Research. He stated that many historians including himself had looked down on genealogy as a pursuit of amateur historians. This view however changed as he realised the importance of Genealogy whilst pursuing his interest in the men that sailed with Captain James Cook. Many of these Genealogy enthusiasts had strong self-taught research skills and have become very adapt at using digital tools for this research.
He gave us some links to some digital archives website that help people in researching their genealogy. Here is a list of the free websites:
John Robson also highly recommended this subscription based website http://www.ancestry.co.uk/
The Ancestry website offered a free trial so i decided I may as well as give it a go. First of all i searched for my Grandpa and it came up with his birth certificate as well the marriage certificate to my Grandma. I then managed to find out from that birth certificate the name of my Great Grandpa and that he lived and died in Auckland. However then i found a person with the exact same name who was a miner in Thames. It began to get very confusing but I can see how useful this website would be once you devote some time and research to it. It also reminded me of the advice John Robson gave us at the end of the lecture:
- Don’t assume everything is always correct
- Try to obtain verification from a second or even third source.
- Be patient and don’t expect miracles.
Claudia Nash writes that Genealogy is an imaginative and empirical practice involving electronic searching and historical fragments, ideas of blood and genetics, and cultural memory. I agree with this view and recognize the value of genealogy research in today’s digital world.
A couple of weeks ago we were treated to a very interesting lecture given by Elaine Bliss about digital storytelling. Digital storytelling is the process by which ordinary people create their own short autobiographical films that can be streamed or broadcast on the web.1 It is very unique as it is a participatory exercise that lets ordinary people tell a story using new media. In the lecture we were shown a couple of examples of these digital stories. Both of them were quite emotional which was very affective as everyone remained engaged to the story.
Over the break i attended a large family reunion and was surprised in seeing digital storytelling used. There was a video camera setup in a small room and one by one people were invited in to tell stories into the camera. It was a very valuable experience as many interesting, emotional and funny stories were told about our old relatives. It was also important that it was done individually as many people had fears of public speaking and this let some stories escape that otherwise would never be told. However the only hiccup with this storytelling process was that one of the older relatives had trouble keeping on topic about family and would only tell stories about his old horse.
Overall though this experience was very engaging and the young members of the family found it valuable listening to some old family stories. It may not have the most historical accuracy but digital storytelling is still valuable in giving ordinary people a chance to share some of their history.
If you are interested here are some sites:
1 Burgess, Jean, ‘Hearing Ordinary Voices. Continuum: Journal of Media & Culture 20.2 (2006). p.206
History is at its core all about telling stories. Historians choose certain evidence from sources to come up with a plot to tell their chosen narrative. Traditionally history has been told by a top-down approach. These historians told the story of the elites and rulers but ignored the stories of the common men and women. They would choose only the evidence that suits the narrative they have weaved. Many rulers and elites knew the importance of having control over the history and gained a lot from it. They knew if their stories were accepted by the people this would give their right to rule legitimacy and they would retain their power.
The elites and rulers no longer have a monopoly over history. As a result there are many hidden histories that have come to light. The internet has helped people access these histories that they otherwise would never have known about. It has empowered groups of people that have been marginalized in society to spread their own narrative of a certain history. This has helped people all over the world gain different perspectives regarding classic narratives.
The internet is revolutionary in the way it can spread information all over the globe. It is exciting seeing more hidden histories being discovered and how this will change peoples perspectives on certain narratives that we have become accustomed to.
Here is an interesting link to check out:
I will be using this blog to reflect on what i have been learning about digital history. In the last lecture we learnt some historical method about how we mostly think in linear time. This is also known as Newtonian time. Interestingly this concept of time has received criticisms from post colonialists as it is viewed as Euro-centric and is not how many first nations view time.
We were also asked the question about how the internet can be useful for Historians. This question caught my interest as i had learned some very good history through alternate means using the internet. For example I have began listening to Podcasts about history in different time periods that interest me. Naturally before i download and listen to a Podcast I make sure the author is legitimate and not some random guy making history fit his own agenda. So once i have found and sourced a good podcast i listen to it whilst driving or doing some other normally mundane activity. This means i can learn and engage with history whilst doing something mundane that i would not normally enjoy. This has helped rekindle my passion for history as i always look forward to doing these mundane activities as it gives me a chance to listen to a solid history podcast and learn about other cultures. So overall from my experience ‘Digital history’ can be very useful and i cannot wait to learn more about it.
Thanks for reading my blog and if you want some podcast links just comment and i will link my favorites so far.