Digital History

James Perry – PhD Student, Department of History

As a subject, many would say that history is not one that traditionally lends itself to digital technology.  That view is very much in error, as many aspects of the study of history are being revolutionised by the use of technology.

The Digital History project is aimed at kick starting ideas and innovation on how the History Department can better adapt to digital technology.  Central to this is the aim of developing an MA in Digital Humanities for the 2017/18 academic year.

By engaging with staff and students James hopes to bring about better understanding of how they can use digital tools and approaches in their studies.  The project will also build on existing relationships with other universities in the digital humanities community with collaborative events held online.

Lancaster 1931

So what exactly is digital history?  Well, it isn’t studying the history of computers for a start!  It is using computer software and technology to bring together huge pots of information and present them graphically in a way that is easy to digest.  Using a range of software, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Corpus Linguistics, it allows “big data” to be broken down into a format that can be quickly interpreted.

For James the project has a double attraction, firstly involvement developing a course in his area of interest and expertise and secondly to build understanding amongst students of a topic that is not yet widely understood.  To succeed in this he recognises that he will need to overcome many challenges, ranging from time and technology to the interactions with other institutions.

This project is now complete: view the Digital History case study.

Mid project update


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