Saturday, January 16, 2010

What is "Public History?"

The recent issue of the National Council on Public History's newsletter drew my attention to the "public history" page on Wikipedia. The NCPH has this to say:

Projects like Wikipedia may be the ultimate in "shared authority"--vast collaborative knowledge projects that invite and incorporate a wide range of voices within a more-or-less agreed-upon framework of presentation. Less than a decade old, Wikipedia is now the largest encyclopedia ever assembled, and surely one of the most contentious. Techno-visionaries praise it for its radical openness (its content is created and edited by users) while educators bemoan the uncritical way that many students have come to use it for one-stop information-shopping. It is a world not unlike public history and it's also one of the most frequently consulted online sources, so whatever definition of public history appears there is a visible and potentially influential one.


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