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Judging Wikipedia

For this exercise I examined the Wikipedia page for a research topic I am heavily considering: The life of Henry VIII


Although I am not a scholar on the topic, I do consider myself to possess a fair amount of knowledge about the life of Henry VIII. As far as I can tell the information listed in the article seems to be reliable. I used to google to cross check a few of the facts listed on the page such as his date of birth and contributions as king and the information was repeated in separate articles.

I then as instructed took a closer look at the page and went through its history and discussion. Most of the corrections in the article seem to be style and grammar but while reading some of them there are a few that correct important pieces of factual information. For example:

(cur | prev21:44, 16 October 2011‎ Surtsicna (talk | contribs)‎ . . (92,141 bytes) (-2,475)‎ . . (removing unsourced and poorly sourced trivial info; Henry had four sons, two of whom lived to adolescence, exactly like his father)

In the above scenario someone removed a piece of information that didn’t have adequate citation and was incorrect. In my opinion although anyone can edit a Wikipedia article, the amount of edits prove that if someone enters in information that is incorrect it will be removed rather quickly since the article is often edited. In comparison Enclyopedia Britannica may have made a factual mistake in something in there database and that error could very well never be corrected.

A Response to Photography as a Weapon Article



In the New York Times Article “Photography as a Weapon” by Errol Morris the author poses the question as to whether or not photographs serve as reliable evidence for fact since they can be easily tampered with as was the case with a recent fake photo of Iranian missiles. He brings in an expert in digital photography named Hany Farid to discuss this idea. I found Hany’s input to be the most interesting part of any of the assigned readings.

Farid suggests that although he doesn’t fully understand the complexity of why our brain seems to trust images, the reality is that visual imagery is a powerful tool. He then poses the question as to whether or not future generations will be as trusting of images now that anyone with basic photo software can manipulate a photo were as previously it could only be done by an expert?

I personally believe that people as a natural response tend to believe an image they see but with the number of photo shopped images in circulation I feel as though my brain has been trained to then ignore that impulse and question as to whether that image is real by doing a follow up Google search. It is important to understand also that a photo doesn’t necessarily have to be manipulated to be deceiving. For example this photograph:

Surfer with Shark


At first glimpse and with a caption like surfer and shark the viewer automatically assumes that this is an image of a surfer with a very large shark right next to him in the water. However the reality is that this is an image of a dolphin. To the untrained eye they seem indistinguishable but an expert can explain that sharks have vertical tail fins and that dolphins have a horizontal tail fin which is visible in the image above.

It is important as well educated individuals that we continue to question everything we see. If we can think critically and compare the sources we are receiving to other information we have already read, reading the new information in a skeptical yet receptive manner we will help forge a more knowledgeable society.

Response to Reading

I found the most interesting part of the assigned reading to be the section that discusses the costs and benefits of digitizing. The author compares the digital preservation to the analog version by saying that “The continuous sweep of the second hand on a wristwatch compared to a digital alarm clock that changes its display in discrete units aptly illustrates the difference.” I found this analogy to be rather brilliant. Although digitization makes finding documents history there is certainly a value to holding the original document, the feel of it in your hands which cannot be replaced by a computer screen. The medium the information is presented in particular can really add to the historical document for example a journal from the front lines of World War II may have mud or even blood on a certain page, or perhaps in one journal entry the young private was so scared that you could see his handwriting became shaky. If you convert the file to text this is all lost and if you scan it into the computer you may still be able to see the shaky characters but the rawness of the original document becomes lost.

In addition to the things that are lost during the process of digitization the process itself can be very tedious and expensive. It is hard enough for human beings to read documents written in cursive hundreds of years ago never mind for a computer to translate the image into text. The process of converting documents in addition to being arduous often having to be done manually, is an expensive process. The servers and maintenance of them, software, and transfer of documents from there analog state to a digital one all come with an associated cost. Although the digital age is an exciting one, it is important that we understand that many of these innovations have their benefits and disadvantages.

Eisenhower: One of The Greatest Generals of All Time

Was General Eisenhower an effective commander during World War II?


In the image above we see Eisenhower going around and greeting members of the airborne division just hours before many of them would parachute to there deaths over northern France as a part of the allied invasion of Normandy.

Eisenhower Newspaper

The Article linked above as well as the image  give important insight to Eisenhower’s emotional connection to his troops which was a big part of what made him an effective leader. In the image it is seen through his expression and in the article he discusses the anxiety that he felt on that day over the lives of his men. Despite never having seen combat Eisenhower managed to effectively execute the largest amphibious assault in history and he is positively remembered in this newspaper article twenty years after the events of June 6, 1944.



The above link contains an archive of the military service of veterans. This site could be used to locate and then contact veterans of World War II to ask them first hand what they thought of Eisenhower’s command capabilities which could serve as an excellent source for writing about Eisenhower’s Command.



First Response to Readings

I found the assigned video “History of the Internet” to be incredibly informative and complex yet not overwhelming.  I didn’t realize that it was a government agency, The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency that planned the first large scale computer network. Although it may have been the first the video notes that at around the same time the rand corporation developed a military network, The National Physical Laboratory developed a commercial network and that a group called Cyclades developed the first scientific network.

As a young historian I cannot help but place myself in what if scenario and wonder what would have happened if the government didn’t fund this kind of research. Would the internet have been developed to the extent it is today purely by private enterprise? How would the internet be different? Unfortunately we historians are constantly faced with the realization that time machines are not real and these what if scenarios will always remain what if scenarios.

1. The Reign of Henry VIII

2. The life of Dwight D Eisenhower

3. A history of motorcycles

HTML Coding In Class Excercise


This is an example of a header

This is a less important header

Florence, Italy

Here is how you use html to format into a paragarph. Understanding this concept is one of the basics of html coding.

This is bold text.

This is Italic text.

  • Item 1
  • Item 2
  • Item 3