Beginning Digital Public History

As my Digital Public History course begins, I find myself excited at the projects I get to undertake in the course.

The first assignment, a podcast on a topic of my choosing, allows me to use digital skills I gained working with oral histories, in a new way. Instead of using sound editing software for another’s voice, I get to use it for my own voice. When working toward my undergraduate degree, I thought that having a podcast within my university history department would be a great way to share and discuss student and faculty research with one other, but alas, time seemed to have run out. This assignment gives me the opportunity to do what I missed out on. My colleagues and I get to share some of our favorite stories and research not only with each other, but with a much wider audience who share the same passion for stories as we do.

This course also gives me the opportunity to create another walking tour based on place and local history. I was able to do this using oral histories from Hear, Here La Crosse to create a LGBTQ+ walking tour. I look forward to using a digital platform to produce a similar outcome and learning more about the rich history of London.

Aside from the fact that I am eager to conduct a podcast and create a walking tour with my colleagues, I find myself nervous about other aspects of the course. It gives a large amount of freedom and creativity to produce a myriad of digital history projects and finding a place to begin can be intimidating. With my prior education, clear outlines have been given to me as to what is expected and what should be produced. The independent project towards the close of the term comes to mind in which there are limitless possibilities for the end product. Though I am nervous about this, I am hopeful that this structure helps me to move forward out of my comfort zone and make me a better public historian with creative ideas as to how to engage a digital audience.

In this course, I want to gain a better understanding of the many digital technologies and platforms public historians use at museums, heritage sites, and other historical institutions as well as how to properly use those technologies to engage a wide, digital audience. I do have some background in using phone trees and programs like Audacity to achieve a digital public history project, but that is what my digital skills are limited to, so I am excited to engage with other technologies and practices such as GIS mapping, website building, and 3D modelling.

Though my background and skills in digital public history is not extensive, I am excited to broaden my experience to other technological platforms I am unfamiliar with and I believe that this course will give me the knowledge I need to make myself competitive within the public history field that is ever-advancing toward a digital presence.

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2 thoughts on “Beginning Digital Public History

  1. Great first entry Katrina!! I also find the start of such a wide-topic project very intimidating. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your work and interests on the podcast, I really loved your work on the LGTBQ2+ walking tour and I think your experience will inform a really great project.


  2. Hi Katrina! It was really interesting to read your thoughts on the variety of projects the Digital Public History class will undertake this semester. You bring an interesting perspective to the podcast because of your work on oral history projects in the past! Have you decided on the subject matter of your podcast yet? I also completely empathize with your nervousness about certain aspects of the course. I too am a bit intimidated by the limitlessness of some of the projects and hope I do not go overboard. I love your perspective of using the final project as an opportunity to challenge yourself. I am excited to see what you create this year! -Rachel


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