Interactivity

The theme of our readings this week focused on interactivity. One of our internet visits was to the Lost Museum, which we also learned about in Clio 1 (here are my thoughts on the Lost Museum and using games as a pedagogical tool). “History and the Web, From the Illustrated Newspaper to Cyberspace” noted the ways in which visual media has been made interactive over time. Of particular interest to me was the information pertaining to newspaper illustrations, as both Frank Leslie’s and Harper’s Weekly and their respective illustrations have been significant sources while working on my current research project.

As a digital historian, when I think about interactivity I think about the various methodologies I can employ to interact with my data. When thinking about what to say in my blog post this week, I found myself returning to Micki Kaufman’s in-progress dissertation “‘Everything on Paper Will be Used Against Me’: Quantifying Kissinger” and her recent brown bag presentation at CHNM. I think that one of the best features of digital history is the ability of scholars to interact with their sources in new and different ways, as well as the ability of the general public to be able to do the same. This interactivity can be achieved through the use of various methodological tools: text mining, topic modeling, content management systems like Omeka, and much more.

I think that interactivity, as Josh Brown showed in his article, is something that isn’t relatively new to the field of history. The aspects of interactivity that digital methodologies can bring to both scholars and their intended audiences is exciting, and something analog and digital historians should embrace.

My comment on Jordan’s post

One Comment

  1. I would agree that Micki Kaufman’s work is a great example of interactive data and sources. Even more so, she can embed most of those visualizations on the web for others to explore and analyze. It is my hope that more historians embrace the web, not just to recreate the book in a website/digital environment but rather to engage with the sources in creative and nuanced ways. This interactivity is, ultimately, allowing the sources to “talk back to us.”

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