Digital Projects are the result of applying the concept of “Digital History” to an historical event, problem, interpretation, or analysis. Loosely defined, Digital History can be as simple as using digital technology to create, enhance, and distribute history. The presentation of historical analysis using more than paper, ink, photographs, and lectures. The stereotype of a historian is a dowdy, bookish loner who eschews progress and clutches tightly to Gutenberg’s coat-tails. A Luddite. Someone who looks longingly backward and looks forward only under duress. Digital History seeks to upend that stereotype by using today’s modern digital tools to interrogate the past in order to better explain the present and the future. To bring today’s historian into the 21st century![1. For a more complete discussion of Digital History, see http://www.journalofamericanhistory.org/issues/952/interchange/]
Digital Projects build on the Digital History model. Cooperative efforts between graduate and undergraduate students, faculty in History and other departments, and the Public Lands History Center seek to harness 21st century tools and technology to investigate and illuminate historical topics. Historian Philip Deloria argues that “the present interrogates the past in a variety ways.”[2. Deloria, Philip J. “Thinking about Self in a Family Way.” The Journal of American History 89.1 (2002): 25. Web.] These Digital Projects take Deloria’s maxim and run with it.
- History of Agricultural and Urban Water Use in Fort Collins
- History of Scott’s Bluff National Monument
- National Border, National Park: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
For a humorous take on an early form of “Digital History” see Peter Norvig’s Gettysburg Address PowerPoint.