He took an arrow to the knee

Third and last post from the old blog. Can the spread of information be traced and mapped?


As said in the previous post, the printed materials are stable, mainly because it takes considerable time and effort to change them and even when they get changed, there is always a paper trail leading to the old version. Its stability makes it ideal for referencing – it can be found with relative ease. This is not necessarily the case with native digital sources, as the information on the Internet is in motion. It gets copied, deleted and altered constantly. It changes location. This makes a digital historian’s hunt for the particular piece of information, say, a text, much akin to a real hunter’s.

In this situation, the digital historian would have three options – she can either witness, kill or mark the text. Mind you, all of the terms are meant metaphorically. Witnessing the piece of information is perhaps the most common method at present. In practice it means…

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Treasure hunt vs real hunt

The second post from the old blog. I still remember that train ride. Lausanne ThatCamp in 2011 was perhaps the most interesting conference I’ve ever attended – a new form of academic event organization; more free, chaotic and way less streamlined than any traditional conference, but the enthusiasm of the participants was palpable.


On my way back from THATCamp Switzerland, I took the night train from Basel to Copenhagen. This journey takes approximately 15-16 hours and allows plenty of time for reflection, as there is hardly anything else to do. CNL is no Orient Express. At least the five remaining inhabitants of my sleeping car reached a tacit consensus of going to sleep at about 21.00. Given that the attempts of reading before that had been punctuated by electricity disappearing and reappearing at random intervals, it was understandable. So, as the sweet old lady sleeping on the cot underneath mine was snoring like Hulk Hogan, I spent a considerable part of the night musing about different things (including premeditated murder).

Still, most of my reflections circled around the questions of digital sources and the changing role of a historian in the increasingly digital world. So I tried to map out the differences…

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How it all began

Found my old blog from 2011, only thanks to the fact that I had saved a link to it on Academia.edu. So, as the questions I set out to ponder back then still interest me, I’ll reblog the existing posts to my current blog and hopefully continue.


The thought of writing a blog about digital history has been lurking in my mind for some time, however, procrastination got the best of me in terms of finally starting it. There was always something more urgent to do whenever I sat down to open WordPress and write the first post – mail to be answered, pictures to be reposted, news to be read, you name it.

Why did I decide to start a blog about digital history? The main reason actually dates back to Wikileaks and the CableGate. On January 8th, one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, Politiken, published an article about CableGate and added a link to a selection of cables that the readers could access. Reading this article made me think – this material would be gold for future historians. However, how could they actually find it? What are the chances that the link would still work in…

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