Weaving Through the Web & Digital History Chapter 3

While surfing through the university online catalog, I searched an array of topics. I found using the database to be relatively straight forward and useful for finding particular topics, such as book titles on World War Two or authors.

As we discussed in class on Wednesday, the Internet has both pros and cons. There is an abundance of information on the web, ranging from news topics to old archives, and navigating the web can often be stressful or overwhelming. Having a database to find specific information is crucial in this day of age because of the high volume of text online.

I worked for a newspaper this summer, and their databases alone would often leave me with a headache. I remember my editors always asking for specific information from the Wall Street Journal, Dept. of Labor, etc. and it would take me sometimes up to an hour to find the specific statistic or quote they needed. Though, the plus side of having all of this information online, is that we have so much to explore. Whether it is historical data or someone’s blog half way around the world, the information we seek is literally one click away.

After reading chapter three of the text, and learning more about the digitization of historical information, it is apparent that technology is rapidly exceeding its own expectations when it comes to the web. The thought process behind realizing that all the pictures and words we see online is actually the encoding of 1’s and 0’s or html tags, is somewhat strange to think about. Maybe it is because we have become so accustomed to having the web, and anything we want to know or see we simply type in a search engine.

It was amazing to read the costs of digitation especially when it comes to things such as hand written documents.

“This exciting prospect of universal, democratic access to our cultural heritage should always be tempered by a clear-headed analysis of whether the audience for the historical materials is real rather than hypothetical.”

The cost of all of these documents and pictures really does play into effect. Also the authenticity of having all of these things online raises the question of what should and should not be available to the masses.

Overall, I think that digitizing, on the Internet, has both positives and negatives. The cost is somewhat outrageous, but the convenience as well as the options are limitless when it comes to having access to historical documents, news clips, etc. online.

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