Sunday, December 04, 2005

Digital History

I saw Edward Ayers on c-span talk about Digitial History and The Valley of the Shadow project. It's digital archive of letters, newspapers, diaries, census records, and speeches from two counties during the American Civil War.
Computers were not a part of the Valley of the Shadow concept at the very beginning, but it soon became apparent that they offered a powerful new way to approach the project. Ayers planned to weave together the small details of life in the communities during the Civil War using letters, diaries, memoirs, census records, church records, government records, battle reports, speeches, and newspapers. Ayers hoped that piecing together the disparate details of people's everyday experience would reveal the underlying patterns of life during the Civil War era, and computers seemed especially suited for the type of work the Valley Project would require.
It's fascinating stuff.

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