In the most recent episode of Digital Campus, Dan and I interviewed Stan Katz (Princeton) about his role in promoting digital history over the past 20 (yes, 20) years. Tom couldn’t join us for the episode because he was at home with the Scheinfeldt family’s new baby. I suppose that qualifies as an excuse. If it seems to you that digital history is too new to have a history, then you need to listen to this episode of Digital Campus. Stan will disabuse you of the notion that what we’re up to is a very recent thing…he was pushing historians to realize that a computer is not a typewriter more than a decade ago and, as that paper reveals, his efforts on behalf of digital history go back even further. For instance, if you like accessing the American Historical Review online, thank Stan. He was the AHA vice president for research who pushed the AHR to move to a digital format. So give the podcast a listen and you’ll even learn how accessing Facebook can lower your GPA.
It’s hard to believe, but Tom, Dan, and I have revisited the world of eBooks on Digital Campus. The biggest part of our discussion was on the merits or lack thereof of the new Kindle reader about to debut from Amazon. Of course, we have to speak speculatively, because none of the three of us actually has a new Kindle, but we were pretty convinced that it’s a loser when it comes to the kinds of teaching, learning, research, presentation, and collection of history that interests us here at CHNM.
More interesting for historians, it seems to me, is the debut of Google Books Mobile, which gives people with iPhones or Android Phones access to hundreds of thousands (some day millions) of books right there on your phone. I find Google Books incredibly useful for both teaching and research and before too much longer I expect that a very large number of my students will have access to this vast library of old books from their own mobile devices.
Whether you like eBook readers or not, give the podcast a listen and let us know what you think. Just don’t use Twitter…I’m still holding firm and so won’t see your comments there.
The latest edition of our Digital Campus podcast went up last week. Tom and Dan upped the pressure on me to start tweeting, but I’m proud to say that I stood firm and I still don’t tweet. In addition to my continued struggles to remain true to my principles, we spent the podcast discussing all the news that was fit to blab about in the world of technology, teaching, and the humanities. One of the “sites of the week” worth a close look is the annual meeting of the American Association for History and Computing. This year’s meeting (April 3-5), “Frontiers in Digital History,” will be held here at George Mason and the Center for History and New Media. So, give the podcast a listen and if you are one of those people who stalks others on Twitter, you can start following Digital Campus that way too…however it is that you stalk people that way.
I don’t know many people who won’t be glad to see 2008 over and 2009 underway. But before we let go of a year that had many less than sterling qualities, it’s worth noting that some very excellent history blogging took place in 2008. The Cliopatria Awards for 2008 were just announced at the AHA annual meeting and if you haven’t seen the list of winners yet, it is well worth your time to take a few minutes to revisit some of the best of 2008 in the history blogosphere.
Looking ahead (with cautious optimism) to 2009, Dan, Tom, and I cut our last podcast of the year just as December was fading away. DigitalCampus #35 offers up a top ten list from 2008 with plenty of commentary on what we think the next big things will be in digital humanities for 2009. Give us a listen and see if you agree.
Finally, I’m happy to say that this post is the 300th in a blog that began back in October 2005 with a post about students using websites. When I started the blog, I had no idea that I would keep at it this long or that it would become such an essential part of my professional life as an educator. Thanks to everyone who visits, reads, and comments on what I’ve been writing about these past 27 months.