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Guess the Ref by goosecommerce

Or, Am I Doing Digital History? Like Right Now? …. How about now?

Steampunk_Desktop

Following a conversation with fellow grad student, also excited about the applications for new media, and after perusing an old issue of Perspectives, I came back to a knot of questions that’s bothered me since I started my graduate career (oh distant day!) How does one do digital history? Am I doing it right now? How is it different than analog history? And, not to forget that classic historian’s question: So what?

Things like this keep me up at night because I cut my teeth, intellectually, reading the manifestos of the Free Software movement (now in tamer, if more ubiquitous, form as the Open Source movement/industry). My heroes were phone phreaks, Richard Stallman, white hat hackers, and Melvil Dewey (not in that order). I was the kid bothering the Barnes & Noble clerks once a month to ask if the newest issue of 2600 had arrived yet (and no, the irony of asking for a copy at a chain store was not lost on me). I was thrilled by the idea that the ethos of yippiedom could be channeled to do cool, anti-authoritarian, productive things, like make operating systems with recursive acronyms. It fit with my other nerd-love, the library, and the potential for democratic education that it represents.

All a way of saying that my predilections are entirely in the utopian internet evangelist camp.

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Eureka! Er, sorta. by goosecommerce
April 16, 2009, 9:24 am
Filed under: Now in Actual Work | Tags: , ,
in small doses

in small doses

I often begin these posts with some kind of appreciation of the serendipity of the archives; much of what’s appeared here are things I didn’t expect; or, more often, things that don’t fit into the project I’m working on as my main occupation, but that were just too interesting (for a given value of interesting) to forget completely. All well and good, I suppose.

But sometimes … sometimes you find what you’re looking for. Yesterday was one of those times. Continue reading

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You Ain’t No Phrend of Mine by goosecommerce
April 15, 2009, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Adams Family, The Past is a Foreign...Something | Tags: , ,

Or, Phrenology Is Silly

Phrenology-heads3

At least, so John Quincy Adams, age 74, told his diary on Thursday, October 14, 1841:

Mr. Clother Gifford came to me, as a phrenologist, and proposed to give my head a scientific phrenological examination, which I declined; regarding the whole pretended science as a mischievous humbug, with all the evil tendencies of fortune telling – I did not say so to Mr. Gifford, but merely declined submitting my head to his examination.”


Cite:
John Quincy Adams diary 41, p. 494 [electronic edition]. The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection (Boston, Mass. : Massachusetts Historical Society, 2004), http://www.masshist.org/jqadiaries

Image citation:
Gaetan Lee, “Phrenology Heads,” Flickr, CC License

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