Publication Date

November 6, 2012

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

A series of articles on how historians are using digital images and imagery has emerged from the members-only section of our website and is now open to all. This forum was the outcome of a few serendipitous submissions to our magazine—one of those cases where it seemed like several authors were approaching the same topic from different angles. We then found a few areas that could be further addressed and solicited articles for those, and the series fell into place.

This forum is a general introduction to a number of ongoing conversations in the digital humanities multiverse; we hope these articles are accessible to readers not yet fully immersed in this world. The articles also show how the digital image can create conditions for crossover between disciplines and professional areas. The forum includes an article on using digital images in public history presentations, another on how archives can be reinterpreted through visualizations, and a third on how geospatial information systems can help historians get a handle on “big data.” The forum also includes accounts by researchers on how they manage their own ever-growing collection of digital images taken from archives or downloaded from databases.

Although they discuss and approach digital images in very different ways, the articles in this forum suggest that digital images are not merely new objects for historians to cite and interpret. They offer historians new ways of approaching old problems and allow them to ask new questions.

We would like to hear from readers about their own experiences with digital images. Leave a comment on this blog post or (for AHA members) in the comments section of each article. Letters to the editor of Perspectives on History are also welcome.

History and the Digital Image Forum

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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