Defining Digital Scholarship

Digital scholarship is the growing branch of academia that centers on the accessibility of discourse and the distribution of sources via the World Wide Web. Because digital scholarship is interdisciplinary, it challenges academicians and their students to produce knowledge with a greater awareness of their readers’ interpretations, agreements, and criticisms. Digital scholarship, therefore, assuages the isolation traditionally tied to writing and learning history in particular. Yet, there is the growing concern of abundance—abundance of sources, interpretations, audiences and producers. As this supposed concern increases, however, so should the quality of our work.

We, students and historians, have the responsibility to serve as the “filter” of contemporary historical discourse by ensuring that the histories that pass through the internet and reach the public meet professional standards, and are not simply produced by mainstream proselytizers who are driven by their political agenda to write narrow histories. That said, the higher-quality histories we produce cannot and should not be pretentious or obscure to the public. History is for the masses, and if we can use the internet to revisit the ultimate task of educating our readers, then digital scholarship will serve as a hub of intellectual exchange and education for years to come.