After a review of the four featured articles this week the implications of a digital history and for that matter a digital humanities should become clear to every scholar/researcher: this new way of presenting scholarship is quickly overtaking the whole of every academic discipline. Because so much of our daily information searches, blog posts, and archived records are being uploaded online, scholarship is increasing subjected to the world of the internet. The first article, written by White, The Problem of Narrative in Contemporary Historical Theory, was written before the age of the internet overtook most people’s everyday activities, but the implications of the narrative are interesting to think about in light of computers that can change the way that history is researched and written. With this time in hindsight White’s article seems to have very predictive of what was to come in the next couple of decades.
In Burton’s Digital American History written in 2005, he provides a list of new and upcoming websites attempting to provide better access to historical information. Some he said have provided an excellent venue for scholarship, while others have not. However, no matter how sloppy the attempt his point was that history is quickly becoming highly accessible in very creative ways. Interestingly he spoke of websites that had been in existence for several years before the writing of his article. The feeling one gets from his point is that if scholars were behind the power curve.
In Cohen’s book The Ivory Tower and the Open Web he expands on this problem six years after Burton’s article. Apparently in the second decade of the 21st century scholars seem to have still been resistant to moving scholarship to an online venue. He gives several reasons for this chief among them was the problems associated with tenure track in universities and the way in which a professor moves up the ranks via publication. Also the resistance that is mounted from the academic community away from scholarly journals that according to Cohen had simply migrated from hardcopy to softcopy with very little change in format or disposition. He seems to believe that scholars would do better to allow for some level of creativity in their adjustment to online formats and interface applications.
Finally, in Cordell’s How Not to Teach Digital Humanities he gives readers an idea of how as recent as 2015 scholars are still pushing back at the idea of teaching and researching in the digital world. His message is seems to be made with an understanding of his new audience of young students. Today’s students have been raised in a world where everything is digital and to even use the word “digital” is to imply that one is already behind the current march into the 21st century. Cordell makes clear that teaching these students is going to require a very new way of understanding how the internet is fully involved in every part of our lives and is showing no signs of changing. Rather it is scholarship that must make the change because the new generation will most certainly embrace a scholarship that has adapted to the new format.
Interestingly, as these articles have shown in the evolution of the internet, the digital age has completely surrounded every aspect of society and those that are not willing to embrace it will be left behind. The quickest way it seems for academics to have their voice heard is to find new and creative ways to present their scholarship online.