Monday, November 3, 2008

Finding Relevance

I have been attempting to legitimize my choice to pursue History (and now Public History) to others for quite sometime now. After enthralling but somewhat abstract class discussions I often find myself wondering if anything we are talking about has relevance to people outside the realm of history. I think this desire to feel relevant is in part why I was first drawn to Public History, as it seems to be more interactive with the public at large.

This weekend while reading the Globe and Mail I stumbled on an article that was essentially a rehashing of a topic which we keep returning to in digital history. In the article Can Hard Drives Replace Archives, Anthony Furey discusses the rise of digital technology and the concerns which many historians have over the way in which technology is changing the way in which history is written. Furey focuses his article mainly on the writing of historical biography, and suggests that email communication and other more informal electronic communication has the potential to greatly enhance a biography. I wish Furey had of mentioned other positive ways that technology can be used by historians in the classroom, in museums, academia and other institutions (as the possibilities seem nearly endless at this point). However the mere fact that this article appeared in the Globe and Mail was some what reassuring in itself. We aren't the only people who care about some of the stuff we are talking about in class and maybe History isn't as irrelevant as some people think after all.

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