Freshman Seminar Fall 2008
How to Use the Internet for Historical Research
1. Reliability Issues
Class Exercise: Trace the source of this quotation using google.com. Holding the left side of the mouse down, highlight a sentence or two from the quotation below. Then hold down the control and C keys at the same time. You have now copied the text. Paste it into the google box by clicking in the box, then hold down the control and V keys at the same time. The text should appear. Be sure to put quotations marks around the text in teh google box. Why is this important?
“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”
Class Exercise: Please go to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Go to the "Historical Arthur" page of this site
Read the text, and then type the following excerpt from it into the google.com search box:
“One of the questions that has occupied those interested in King Arthur is whether or not he is a historical figure.”
On how many sites do you find this quotation?
Try some other sentences from this page and see what happens. Who is the author of each page you find and what are their credentials? Which site would be the original source of this quotation or any of the other quotations that you searched?
3. Dot Coms
Class exercise: Go to Celtic Twilight:
What is the purpose of the site? What is its context? How credibile is it? How credible are the author’s credentials?
4. Translation Issues
Internet Medieval Sourcebook
5. Other Collections of Primary Sources Online
Online Castato of 1427 from Florence
Online Tratte of Office Holders 1282-1532
6. Archaeological Sites
Pilgrimage to Abydos
Perry-Castañeda Map Collection at the University of Texas
9. Multimedia collections
The Valley of the Shadow
Exercise: Search war years collection and look for soldiers’ records with surname “Vess”
Exercise: Search eve of war years collection, and go to census and tax records. Search for surname “Caldwell” under agricultural census records. Now, try to figure out how many slaves he had.
Did he pay taxes to Augusta?
Library of Congress American Memory
Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation
Cyber Library of the Holocaust
Center for History and New Media (George Mason University)