A portfolio of digital history

Defining digital history

Digital history uses modern technology to keep records and revive voices, ideas, and concepts from the past. It makes collecting, storing, sharing, and analyzing data and primary sources more efficient.

Throughout this semester, I created my own pieces of digital history and explored technological tools that I otherwise may not have discovered. In some of my favorite projects, I learned to create digital maps, analyze data using Voyant Tools, and insert sound clips into texts. Each of these tools turned primary sources and data into interactive experiences, which allow the project viewers to comprehend the subjects with greater depth than simply reading from a textbook.

Voices from El Rio

In my post, Voices from El Rio, I learned to insert a sound clip into text. The project focused on a Mexican American citizen speaking on discriminatory practices in the United States. Though we can read about the horrible treatment of Mexican Americans in historical articles and blog posts, hearing the voice of a man who personally faced and witnessed discrimination in that time period breathes life into what may otherwise be a flat discussion. I believe that a topic such as discrimination deserves to be explored thoroughly, taken seriously, and understood in past contexts so that it can be changed in modern contexts. Click the image below or the pink link to view the project.

Exploring history with Voyant Tools

In Exploring history with Voyant Tools, I learned how to upload and analyze the texts of thousands of documents at once. Yes, thousands! Voyant Tools then creates different graphs, tables, word clouds, and more to analyze the content of documents for both close and distant reading. Within the project, Voyant Tools helped me to form questions about the educational level and regional dialects during that time period using a word that I almost wrote off as a stop word. Click the image below or the pink link to view the project.

Two tours of historical Missouri

In my project Two tours of historical Missouri, I worked with an online map building program to create a virtual tour from Missouri as described in the American Guide Series. I then compared the tour map that I created in Missouri to a map showing a similar tour featuring only places that African American travelers could stay or eat. These stops were few and far between, shedding a light on the discrimination and injustice so prominent to the time period. In using the mapping tools, I learned much about the history of small towns in Missouri and the discrimination of the culture. This tool was incredibly useful to provide a more tangible understanding of the history of tourism; I felt like I was creating Google Maps for the past. Click the image below or the pink link to view the project.

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