In this day in age, websites have to keep up with the ongoing demand for easily accessible information that is also entertaining. Websites that are too wordy and very dull are easily looked past and seem not as professional as websites that put much more time and effort in making their website appealing. This can also lead to many problems because the more educational websites could be getting looked over and the less informative and possible false websites are the more visited ones. To see if this theory held true, I personally looked at two historical websites and compared them to each other.
The first website was Historical Voices, http://www.historicalvoices.org/index.php, which has a collection of websites on historical sound bites for an interested viewer to have access to them whenever needed. It is an online database to make searching for a specific topic much easier for a researcher. A few problems with the website are that it is not very appealing to the eyes. Nothing pulls a reader in and the website is very wordy. The gallery of websites has a nice description of each database, but there are only seven and once the reader clicks on the link, they have to start their search again.
As for my second website, it seems to be much more user friendly and has many easy search tools. This website is The Lost Museum Archive, http://www.lostmuseum.cuny.edu/home.html, and right from the beginning the website grabs the reader. It has a very nice and easy layout and has interactive links that keep the reader amused. The only problem with the website is that there could be confusion on what the topic of the website exactly is. There is no information about the lost museum on the front page and most of the information that is connected to the museum is through video.
Both these websites have information that can be extremely useful for a researcher, student, or just a curious reader, but could use some fixing up to become very useful webpages. If the two websites were meshed into one website platform, it would create a very informative, user friendly website that could successful get their message across.
Digital history has changed everyone’s way of life for researching. In the past, retrieving sources for papers, books, or articles was extremely difficult and there were only a few places where one could look for sources. Today, the researcher has an abundance of information at their fingertips. The question is no longer where to find the information, but what information is legitimate. Digital history has many pros and cons, but as long as the researcher has properly been trained in finding sources, the task of finding information can be simple. In my freshman year of college I knew very little about sites like Ebsco, JSTOR, Google Scholar, and other educational databases. Now I live on these sites to help build a background of information for a research paper. Even sites like Wikipedia and blogs can be helpful starting points for research as long as the reader understands that the information could be bias or misguiding. “Going Digital” by William Turkel showed a novice researcher how easy it is to find educational sources. His pointers on creating a web history of factual sites makes researching much faster and accurate. His steps take out the clutter that many researchers experience when first starting a research assignment.
Blogging can spur a heated intellectual debate that could educate readers about many political biases and also compare historical events to present day issues. Blogging allows writers to develop a view point and see how others respond to their thoughts. To say that blogging could be a crucial way for professors to educate their students on history could be seen as a stretch. I feel that Dan Cohen, “Professors, Start Your Blogs” brings up many quality advantages of blogging history, but there is too many useless and uninformed blogs to truly make blogging an educational tool. I do feel that this idea that professors should blog could spur a new type of website that would solely deal with educated debates and historical events. It could involve students, professors, employees, and employers and would make blogging more than “the realm of self-involved, insecure, oversexed teens and twentysomethings” as Dan Cohen put it. Blogging has the ability to revolutionize how we view news stories and politics, but at this current moment the blogging world is flooded with too much nonsense. Even the word blogging has a negative stereotype attached to it. Professors refuse to allow students to cite from blogs because of the unreliability. If there was a way to make a blogging site more sophisticated and factual, then I feel Dan Cohen is on to a revolutionary idea, but for now it is just too hard for the common reader to find a trustworthy blog.