Presentation of DPH in OpenEdition Scholarly Blogs Catalogue
Identifying common needs and practices in Digital Public History
Digital History in its interactive version 2.0, has certainly helped to open up “high culture”. But with the advent of web 2.0, history and memory are now the prerogative of anyone using “crowdsourcing” activities. The danger today is that specialists will not control anymore how digital history will show us the past. Without acknowledging that new instruments are transforming the historian’s craft, and without reflecting on the terms of these transformations, the digital revolution will eliminate the historians professional capacity to reconstruct the past. History will soon become an open territory for everybody to play with. This blog would like to reflect and inform about the most significant mutations that a Digital Public history way to Public History is offering: new forms of history practices -that professional historians should use to deepen the origins and identity claims by many communities tracing their own history in our globalized societies- should be better looked at.
Public History has its origin at the end of the 1960s in Raphael Samuel’s Ruskin College in Oxford and became an institutionalized discipline in the USA during the 1970s when the National Coalition for Public History – NCPH was born. In parallel to the Anglo-Saxon world, a variety of Public History discourses and practices emerged in continental Europe and in other continents without using the English term which was never directly translated. In continental Europe, contemporary cultural and political debates are influenced by history and memory issues. Professional historians actively participate in public debates in the media. At the same time, a dense network of cultural heritage institutions also helps to question the role of history and try to foster the presence of their own past within different communities. Public History in Europe is often linked to collective identities at different levels: from local memories to the construction of regional, national and pan-European “Heimaten” and “Realms of Memory”. Europeans -but this is happening globally- are looking at multi-dimensional identities and traditions which should be interpreted also thanks to (Digital) Public Historians and (Digital) Public History practices. Digital Public History is above all a way to sustain Public History activities and communities internationally. Communicating through the web helps enormously sharing ideas and experiences. Connecting people and their Public History practices worldwide is the aim of the new International Federation for Public History, an internal committee of the CISH, the Comité International des Sciences Historiques. Connecting people and experiences in the field is also a second aim of this Blog which is meant to offer information and reflections about (Digital) Public History issues according to my interests and following a personal calendar of publications. I will write in English, Italiano or Français depending on the topic of the post and the language used when taking notes.
About myself“History Information Specialist” at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy is my public history job. I did my Ph.D. between 1979 and 1984 at the EUI and from 1985 I work in the library to sustain the scholarly activities of the EUI History Department. This is about many things like building specialized history collections for a European social science academic library. It is also about coordinating a Digital History web portal called European History Primary Sources – EHPS and maintained by the Library and the History & Civilization Department.My present research interests are dealing with the epistemology of Public History and Digital Public History. I am fostering Public History internationalization process focusing on the peculiar methods, practices and identity of continental European Public History activities. Within this filed I am especially looking at digital (public) history practices and the public role of the web and social media. My interest for digital history started during the second half of the ’90 when I was webmaster of the EUI library. My interest for public history started already at that time but without knowing about public history discipline. I became a “public historian” using the name before Portland’s National Council of Public History annual meeting in Oregon in 2010, when I participated to the Working Group coordinated by Anna Adamek on International Council on Public History? Bringing Global Public History Closer. But I joined NCPH before Portland’s 30th Anniversary Meeting. Starting February 2012, I was elected President of the Steering Committee of the International Federation for Public History. I organized the IFPH Steering Committee meeting inLuxembourg, the 22nd of March 2012 and we had a first general public meeting of the association during the Milwaukee NCPH annual meeting in April 2012. The IFPH had his first International Conference in October 2014 at the University of Amsterdam and will participate in August 2015 to the CISH Conference in Jinan, China. The 3rd annual conference of the IFPH will take place in June 2016 in Bogotà.