Collaboration and access

Item Type



I think that "collaboration" and "access" will become the two terms that most define the practice of public history in the future.

As the Internet makes more information available to more people, and as historical writing for a popular audience continues to grow as a genre, I feel that there is great potential for public history to take a more central role in the discipline of history as a whole. Public historians are invested in shared inquiry and broadening dialogues. These skills will allow public historians to tap into the increasingly participatory nature of popular culture that has been made possible by the Internet. The practice of history will become a much more collaborative enterprise. The image of the lone historian researching in a dusty archive will still exist, but it will no longer be the primary image of the historian. Instead, historical information will often be gathered by groups working together (think the Flickr Commons). Trained public historians will primarily be needed to provide guidance and direction to these broadly collaborative historical projects. In this sense, I see the field of public history overlapping with, and to some extent merging with, the profession of librarianship. In addition to their traditional roles as interpreters of historical information, public historians, like librarians, will become information organizers, guides, and managers.

Mobile computing will allow historians to reach audiences anywhere. History lessons, featuring multimedia and digitized primary source material, will be able to be tailored to a user's location via GPS tracking. And people will be able to listen to podcasts, watch videos, and read about history anywhere that can be reached by the Internet. This type of mobile access to historical information will allow our audiences to feel much more connected the historical fabric that overlays physical places.

Original Format


Kate Freedman


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Kate Freedman

Date Added



Kate Freedman, "Collaboration and access." Forward Capture: Imagine the Future of Public History, Item #10 (accessed December 03 2021, 3:00 pm)