We Are All Digital Now: Digital Photography and the Reshaping of Historical Practice
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Visiting a reading room in the last five years is a very different experience than what it looked like even fifteen years ago: while a few researchers carefully read archival documents in situ, most are crouched over their archival documents with a smartphone or digital camera in hand, taking thousands of photos that will be analyzed upon return to their home institutions. With the advent of digital photography and less-restrictive archival policies on digital reproduction for personal use, historical research is now characterized by quick trips to gather thousands of photos. What does this mean for the research and writing of history, however? How do researchers create their corpuses and on what information? What work takes place before the archival visit, after the archival visit, and how can we better support this sort of work? Drawing on a 2019 survey of 253 historians employed at Canadian universities, this article argues that through specific reference to the use of digital archival photography, we can see the varied ways in which historical work is being adapted to these new and emerging technological circumstances.
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Ian Milligan (2020). We Are All Digital Now: Digital Photography and the Reshaping of Historical Practice. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17730