Where did Montezuma go to college? Az Tech: Researching and Writing in the Digital Age

The web has made doing historical research easier and more accessible, especially as a student. I have a tendency to do my work at odd hours, specifically late at night, because that is when I focus the best. So with the ability to access sources like journal articles and books through databases, I am able to get work done without any closing-time restrictions like I would at the library. It also allows for me to gain access to sources quicker and get some sources that are not available at my university or local library as well as giving me the ability to find out which places have what I am looking for. In regards to primary sources, I have access to countless newspaper articles and photographs that, without the web, it would be nearly impossible for me to gain access to.

Depending on where the information is coming from online changes the way I think about sources. When I pick up a book, I am generally trusting of its accuracy. However, I do look into the author and the publisher and that is almost second-nature to me at this point. When I look at a source online, sometimes it is hard to find who the author is or where they come from, which tends to make me warier of what I find. With access to many online peer-reviewed journals, I look at those the same way I look at a book from a credited author. I feel more apt to trust a source that I know has undergone rigorous editing and has been looked at by other professionals in the field.

As I stated in last weeks post, I do not believe that there is necessarily a qualitative difference between digital archives and more traditional sources. In terms of ease of access, there is no question, with digital sources, there are countless sources available. However, there are just as many analog sources as well, a historian might just need to work a little harder to obtain them.


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