2/3 | What do you think is the biggest change that digital technology has made to how historians do history?
In my opinion, history has taken the biggest hit when it comes to the growth of technology. It used to be somewhat impossible for people to tamper with and defile historical documents because there were multiple copies and records of them in libraries in several books, museums, and in our school’s history books. You couldn’t argue with history because once it was printed in a book, it seemed to be the final voice. Nowadays, it seems like that has changed somewhat.
With our new-age world being completely centered around everything being smaller, more compact, and ‘easier’ on the user, simple things like books aren’t even the same. Yes, libraries, Barnes and Nobles, and various other bookstores still have a steady flow of customers, but it is not the same as it once was. Many authors now provide e-book versions of their publications, and even Google has their own book site called Google Books where you can buy almost any book you can think of in an e-book version. Those of us who are avid book readers and lovers of the atmosphere that is your local bookstore, still find comfort in hard backs, the flipping of scratchy thick pages, and the occasional printing typos that come along with actual books. But for those who don’t have the space, nor ‘time’ (in their opinion), to read and purchase actual books, e-readers have become their saving grace. E-Readers like Nook, Apple Books, Amazon Fire Tablet Books, etc. is like your local bookstore on crack. These tiny tablets and software hold THOUSANDS on THOUSANDS of books at your convenience, all neatly filed into folders that make it easier for you to search for.
This would, I assume, make it very difficult for historians to continue to record history the way they always have because whatever book they decide to create, it will most likely need an e-book version. And if they are historians who record history for our country, where do they keep records of what goes on in the world? Wikipedia? If that is the only viable option for historians, we’re in for a wild ride.