For this week, one of the readings that really opened my eyes to the challenges of entering the digital world was Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History online guide. As a newcomer to the world of web design I was amazed at the costs that a web developer–particularly of a popular, high-traffic site–must incur with high bandwidth. With these high costs, it would appear that popular sites with rich multimedia content may be out of reach for the amateur historian, requiring massive amounts of funding from outside sources such as media outlets or universities, which could limit creative freedom for producers. While this may not be an immediate problem for most historians, it could be a challenge of someone makes a site that is really innovative, gets popular support, and now what was a $5 to $10 a month expense is now a $1500 a month expense to maintain.
As technology, software, and multimedia content becomes much more sophisticated, I can imagine one of the challenges going forward would be finding a way to make this content much more cost effective for producers. It seems that as megabytes turn into gigabytes and now into terabytes, data storage and streaming capacity will continue to increase of not only consumers but for web developers as well. However, the amount of multimedia content is also increasing. I remember the “dark ages” of the mid to late 90s when cell phones were the size of iPads and websites that contained JPEG images were the high-scale sites to visit. Now interactive media, movies, and many other marvels are becoming the standard for high-end websites. It will be interesting to see what developers will do in the future to bring costs down while still maintaining the best quality.
I’ve also been doing some thinking about some topics I’d like to explore as we continue throughout this semester. As I stated on my bio page, my historical interests tend to be eighteenth and early-nineteenth century American and European history, so I’d like to focus in those areas. So here we go:
- I’d like to study more about the conflict between loyalists and patriots during the Revolutionary War, and how the war could be classified as America’s first civil war.
- In staying with the Revolutionary War era, I’d like to look into the use of intelligence gathering and cloak-and-dagger tactics on both sides of the war.
- Finally, I’d like to look at the career of George Washington from the French and Indian War to see what experiences molded him into the general that he was during the War for Independence.