Jenny L. Presnell, “History and the Internet”

Presnell begins the article discussing the benefits of the internet such as being able to provide a variety of information while connecting both the teacher and learner (136).  One of the downsides Presnell notes is that the internet has no organization which can waste the time of the researcher (136).  Presnell lists several kinds of “serious history” that can be found on the web such as primary sources now being digitized on the internet so that way many individuals can gain access to these documents (138).  Furthermore, bibliographies, government documents, specialized reference sources, secondary sources, communication, and syllabi (138-140).  Then, Presnell goes over the basics of how to use the internet – describing how to pick a browser, search for information, etc. (142-143).  Next, Presnell discusses how to find primary sources.  To me, this was the most important part for a historian because sometimes it is very difficult to find a primary source.  She says to browse academic sources first (152).  Then, use several various search engines to try to narrow down your options (152).  If you are looking for a particular primary source, Presnell notes that you should add that as a key term in your researching (152).  Also, I learned about H-net which is essentially a blog that discusses real-world issues (so cool) (153).  Next, Presnell notes how to evaluate sites concerned with primary sources by looking at the quality of the scans and the documents, searchability, bibliography/webliography, and interpretive and descriptive materials (154-155).  Lastly, Presnell discusses a case study looking at Japanese Americans and Internment Camps to illustrate the importance of researching with keywords, search engines, etc.