This semester, I am taking a Public History course at Carleton University called Digital History as a part of my Master’s specialization in Digital Humanities. In this course, we will look at the ways that questions about history have changed due to digital technologies, how these technologies have changed the way that questions can be asked, and how historical research is communicated to a wider public. As a part of this class, I will be blogging about my course readings and other digital history related topics. This first blog post will serve as an introduction for my classmates and professor regarding who I am, my interest in Digital History, and what I hope to learn in the class.
Here it goes!
My name is Danuta, and I am a second year MA Art History student with a specialization in the Digital Humanities. My interest in the digital humanities began last year when I audited the trial run of the core course in the burgeoning Digital Humanities specialization program. The course showed me that there was a whole new world of possibilities for the humanities and historical research, and I wanted to explore it further. So far, my research in this field has focused on social media use and public engagement in art galleries and museums. However, I am currently exploring how digital media is changing both curatorial and artistic practices (for example, new media interactive installations), and also how art history can evolve in today’s digital age.
I also have a bit of experience working with history in a digital fashion. I worked on a digitization project at the Archives and Research Collections at the Carleton University Library. There, I worked on digitizing the photographs in the Douglas Cardinal fonds, and creating archival records for their online catalog. I also created and managed a social media platform on Facebook for a small museum in South Central Saskatchewan. I was responsible for engaging their audience online through posts about news updates, events at the museum, and featured items in the collection. I will also be starting another practicum placement at the Carleton Archives that will most likely be an online exhibition of some sort based on the W. McAllister Johnson collection of rare books. I have also often taken advantage of digital technologies to help me navigate academia. I have used Zotero, Diigo, Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive to save and access documents across devices. These tools are incredibly useful, and help me to keep myself organized when writing papers.
I hope that this class will allow me to learn about how other historians are doing history digitally, and give me some ideas that may be transferable to my art historical practice. I have almost no special computer skills, and I would like to learn which tools are the most useful for historians. I am very excited by the sense of collaboration that this class seems to have. The class project of creating an augmented reality coffee table book based on a collection at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology also seems interesting and I am really looking forward to working on it alongside my classmates.