How are historians adapting to the latest research tools and the expanding role of digital archives? In the current issue of Perspectives, Robert Townsend reports on an Ithaka S+R study that seems to suggest, according to Townsend, “that historians are deeply individualistic, and poorly trained in one of the most fundamental areas of their work.” Many have embraced the digital camera to capture documents in the archives, but this has resulted in less time on site consulting with archivists. Many research projects start with Google and follow a digital trail, but many historians are still wedded to paper for note-taking.
These findings raise important questions, which readers can continue to ponder as they explore a forum on historians and the digital image that Perspectives ran last October. Here, historians discuss how they use digital tools not merely as a convenient replacement for paper and pencil, but as a way to make new discoveries.
We have ungated Townsend’s article ahead of schedule—certain articles of Perspectives on History are restricted to members for 30 days after publication, at which point they become open to all.