Analyzing the New Age of Technology


With the eve of a new forms of media through the technological revolution, the need for new definitions regarding scholarship is dire. With this, the American Historical Association gathered to create guidelines for digital scholarship. AHA defines this as, “scholarship that is either produced using computational tools and methods or presented using digital technologies.” Scholarship in general is any documented conversation of matters that have endured consequences. Many journal articles do not have trouble fitting into the AHA guidelines as they are the same style as analog, but the official journal is simply online.

Other forms of digital scholarship are more confusing, such as the example, “Digital Harlem.” Digital Harlem is a website that shows information “drawn from legal records, newspapers, and other archival and published sources” regarding Harlem in New York City. In this website, you are able to click on a map that represents different factors of Harlem such as churches, sports, number arrests, and nightlife. Clicking each of the sites bring captions and leads to other sites to learn more. This website comprehensively displays the distribution of each of these factors and the frequency of the categories. For example, for churches, it explains how churches historically chose the locations of their churches within Harlem. This website first fits the AHA guidelines because it is required that scholarship uses reliable forms of information through research of archival evidence that accurately uses innovation to advance knowledge of others. The AHA guidelines also state that many forms of digital scholarship are articles that are more comprehensive when digitized. This website fits under this category due to the fact that it is interesting to see which areas of New York are the most concentrated. Some of the locations also lead to a more comprehensive article, that also shows its alignment to the AHA guidelines.

The analog version of this website would be interesting to see. Because the sectors lead to separate links in which advertisements, old newspapers, and articles are linked, I would imagine that the analog version would actually be separate articles regarding Harlem. There would be separate papers on churches, sports, number arrests, and nightlife. The map is a better version of the representation of Harlem because all these aspects may be laid over each other and one is able to infer the story map of someone’s life during this time period of where they would go at certain times of the day. Due to this, the digital aspects of this website adds to the scholarship of this piece. I do not think that scholarship would necessarily be subtracted in an analog version, but it is hard to imagine an analog version that contains all these aspects because all the aspects are not connected, until they are shown on the map. Daily life would not be easily analyzed.

While I was scrolling through this website, I thought about two things. I think that the AHA guidelines are way too vague. The guidelines are difficult to follow as they simply discuss and go back and forth about what different forms of digital scholarship could or could not be. They do not necessarily outline guidelines for every type of media, making it difficult to gauge. At the same time, I understand that this is a newly developing topic with more forms of media being created every day. I also realize that nearly everything should be considered digital scholarship if it educates people, as the Internet exists to assist people. Going forward, society must work on developing methods to analyze technology.