- Accessibility of information
- Information source easily apparent
- Semantic linkages
- Information sources limited
- Very elite group can publish information
- Broadened sources of information
- Everyone can contribute
- Interfaces become more user-friendly
- Community policing of content
- E-commerce becomes available
- Increases information available to savvy consumers
- Anonymity protects users
- Everyone can contribute
- Politics and business can interfere with contribution
- Could be psychologically seductive / deceptive
- Anonymity protects abusers
- Search methods become more fluid and “intelligent”
- Information availability tailored to personal preferences
- Immersion increases range of ways for people to consume information
- Data linkages become richer
- Information tailoring may limit perspective
- Online interactions may not provide things personal interactions do
For the InfoAge 2014 Twitter project, I chose to live-tweet the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This was an interesting choice for me, because television footage of the event does exist– the first coronation to be so exhaustively covered. You can find the footage on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKzlKwpm17U
Obviously there was no BBC Twitter Service at the time, but I like to think that they would have covered it much as I did. The interesting part was being able to discuss all of the symbolism of each step of the ceremony in merely 140 characters! Such a complicated event may well require more than that, but the limitations of the medium are what they are.
The twitter stream can be found here: https://twitter.com/NotTheBBCTwits
1. Usenet: Screenshot
2. MUDs/MUSHes (old-style text games): Screenshot or text log
3. Webcomic, like Order of the Stick: Image file
4. Podcast: Sound file/youtube “video”
5. Let’s Play: Video
Though located in entirely separate parts of the nation, and separated by divides of culture, ethnicity, and geography, if one views the two cities with a squint, they appear quite similar in many ways. Both have served as the capital of their state or territory (though Tucson was only the capital of the Arizona Territory, and only for a period of a few years). Both were the beneficiaries of Western expansion, albeit one substantially before the other. And both exhibit pronounced post-war population booms, and have grown at a very similar rate since.
Columbus was founded in 1812, to serve as the capital for the new state– a new city for a capital helped avoid the appearance of playing favorites among the larger population centers, and because the other candidates were located at the fringes of the state; a new city at the center of the state would be ideal. Its growth was sluggish, though it was helped by the arrival of the National Road in 1831; this connection to Baltimore, and through it the major cities of the East, helped to facilitate a population boom. Its growth from then on was quite steady until the privations of the Great Depression and World War I, which almost halted population growth entirely. Fortunately the city did well economically during these times due to its position in the manufacturing and steel industries; this helped it to capitalize upon the economic expansion of World War II, bringing jobs in large numbers. This plus the post-war Baby Boom restored and even increased its population growth, exceeding the pre-Depression rate; though it levelled off briefly during the recessions of the late twentieth century, it has since shown some signs of revival.
Tucson, meanwhile, was not founded as part of the United States at all. Its earliest inhabitants were Native Americans, and it became part of the United States as part of the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico in 1853–the last large land purchase in the continental United States. It can perhaps be forgiven for its extremely slow rate of growth during its very early history– Arizona is a largely inhospitable part of the West, and migrants largely passed it up in favor of California or Oregon. (Certainly, nobody ever played the Arizona Trail on classroom computers in elementary school.) Phoenix was chosen over Tucson as the capital when it came time for statehood, and were it not for Tucson’s position as the major railroad center of Arizona, it would likely have fallen into some obscurity; as it was, Phoenix quickly outpaced Tucson in terms of population. This link with the East was instrumental in Tucson’s slow growth, however. Like Columbus, Tucson benefited mightily from the post-war boom. In its smaller population, the growth is even more noticeable, quadrupling its population in only ten years– testament not only to the Baby Boom but to an increase in livable land due to advances in irrigation technology and the growing American love affair with the suburb and the automobile.
Ohio History Connection, “Columbus, Ohio.” (http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Columbus,_Ohio?rec=689)
Ohio Steel Council, “History of Ohio Steelmaking.” (http://www.ohiosteel.org/ohio-steel-industry/history/)
City of Tucson. “A Brief History of Tucson.” (http://government.tucsonaz.gov/info/brief-history-tucson)
City of Tucson, Urban Planning and Development Department. “Tucson Post-WWII Residential Subdivison Development.” (http://oip.tucsonaz.gov/files/preservation/Text_-_Tucson_Post_WWII_Residential_Subdivision_Development.pdf)
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Fireside Chat ably summarizes the points of the third chapter of today’s reading, representing broadcast’s ability to connect people across broad geographical areas, to target specific markets and audiences (in this case, all Americans, but in many other cases more specific groups), and a distinct evolution in the way people consumed media.
These six articles serve as a ’round table’ discussion of the problem of ethics in the field of history, and were actually fairly unnerving to read while working on my final paper, much in the way that reading about horrific car accidents can be unnerving to read while learning to drive. Nonetheless, they serve as a useful snapshot of ethical problems and solutions in the profession (albeit in 2004).
Each approached the problem from a different way, but each definitely hammered n that plagarism is, in fact, a problem. Some disagreed as to its source– in his essay, Gorn blames the marketization of history as a profession– but all agreed that it was a problem. Unfortunately, it’s often a subtle and difficult problem to find, and Michael Grossberg found it difficult to offer a solution better than “I’ll know it when I see it,” which doesn’t sit well on my shoulders.
Honestly, my favorite solution was that offered by Fox. If students feel comfortable doing original research by themselves, they may not feel the need to plagarize as pressingly. I know I could have done with some guidance in the nature of research a lot earlier than I got it; I still often feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing. I worry if that’s what even professional historians feel when they sit down with a stack of eight books about the Civil War and wonder if what they’re doing really counts.
The Lost Museum was an interesting, if somewhat aging, exercise in learning via the Internet. Though I could wax poetic about the graphics and engine that date back to the earlier part of the last decade– I’m fairly certain I played a game very similar to this in middle school– I was actually rather impressed with the documents that were linked into the game, such as the slave contract. They made the experience, for me, giving what was otherwise mildly cheesy an atmosphere of historic authenticity. That’s what interactive games and the like are best at, I find: they create immersion, helping the player to feel present and creating a sense of place that is often otherwise absent.
In her discussion of non-textual sources, Jenny Presnell touched on a few that I wouldn’t have considered. Music, for example, seems somewhat rare as an actual historical source– though after watching the documentary about the African song in class, I’m certainly aware that it can be one. Her discussion of photographs was interesting, as photographic history can be as fascinating and informative as the photographs themselves. For example, Matthew Brady, the famous Civil War photographer, did very little of his own work due to his partial blindness; many of his photographs were staged and taken by apprentices, one of whom was Gardener, mentioned in this chapter. Images do say a great deal, but it’s what they don’t say that is important to keep in mind– you may see everything that’s in the picture, but the picture cannot show you what is just outside its edges, or what’s behind the camera. That’s why images and text work so well together.
Jenny Presnell’s treatment of the Internet as a source for historical research was entertaining and not as out-of-touch as most such writings tend to be. It can be almost physically painful to read well-educated scholars treating the Internet as a strange and wonderful place, so the awkwardness of phrasing is amusing in the same way a Wikipedia article about a vulgar topic can often be. Presnell, however, obviously has a degree of familiarity with the Internet, so this pitfall is avoided. Most interesting to be was the discussion of the “deep web,” even though calling it that gives the impression that it’s a separate system or even a discrete area, when in fact the term applies only to sites or information which are somewhat more difficult to reach. Additionally, I was pleased to see information (albeit somewhat anachronistic information) about listservs. In use today mostly among professionals in a few select groups, they were in wider use about a decade ago, and I’ve actually been able to use listserv archives from fifteen years ago to uncover historical information about the development of one of my favorite online games– the discussions of its developer with the developers of other games are archived there for everyone to see, offering a unique sort of primary source.