Tim Sherratt

Sharing recent updates and work-in-progress

Nov 2022

The Australian history industry and the impact of digitisation (open access preprint chapter)

The Australian History Industry was published recently. Edited by Paul Ashton and Paula Hamilton, the book ‘explores the complex, multi-roomed house of Australian history’, exploring academic, school, and public history, the impact of digital technologies, and the relationship of history to memory, social justice, politics, and cultural practice.

My chapter ‘Digital revolutions: The limits and affordances of online collections’ looks at how digitisation of GLAM collections has (and hasn’t) changed historical practice:

As the COVID lockdowns in 2020 emphasised, the online availability of primary source materials makes historical research possible even when access to the originals is limited. But the undoubted convenience of being able to browse 200 years worth of newspapers at home masks other issues that historians have been slow to acknowledge and address. How do we discover relevant resources? What gets digitised and why? How can researchers use these collections to ask new types of questions? After more than 25 years, the web has its own history. What problems and possibilities has it brought to the way we understand the past?

It’s available as a green open access preprint on Zenodo.