February 2, 2015 by rjordan10
While all of the readings from this week were interesting and thought provoking, there was one that stood out to me, and that was chapter seven from the Cohen and Rozenzweig book, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. The chapter, entitled “owning the past,” was particularly relevant, not just because of the Atlanta Beltline research projects we are working on, but also because a lot of historians are going through the same thing that we are dealing with in the project: copyright laws, and how the translate to content on the internet. For non-digital sources, copyright laws have been around for a fairly long time, and while they do change sometimes, they are fairly well established. But, for things on the internet, it is more of a ‘wild west’ mentality regarding a lot of the content out there, since while much of it does have copyright laws that apply to it, there is also a lot of content that has none, making it difficult for scholars, or anyone who might want to cite it for a project, etc. In Cohen and Rozenzweig’s book, they mention this (p.196), and how it can make things tricky for people, since nobody wants to get in trouble for copyright infringement. One of the things they mention is that if someone uses a photo (p.196), and doesn’t know how to cite it, it can lead to problems. However, today there are more and more sites that help people to cite things, like Zotero, which was covered in our last class. Since the book was published in 2006, I can only imagine that the next edition will have (at the very least) a small section on citation websites like them.