History On Line
Funded by the Life Long Learning programme
The progressive affirmation of digital historiography is introducing a significant opportunity for revision of traditional methods of historical research, teaching and learning. We are moving towards the possibility of having whole archives and libraries bought to use by a click of a (mouse) button. The digitalisation of printed documents and texts allows them to be easily consulted at distance but also allows access to films, audio and iconographic and photographic material etc.
It becomes possible to develop a studying and teaching of history approach based and the direct access to the sources, beside the more traditional methodology oriented exclusively to printed manuals, that explain the sources without making possible to view them directly.
The potential easy access to direct sources through digitalized archives makes possible for professionals researchers, teachers and students to think to a reconstruction and explanation of history, coming out from a stronger correlation between a direct use of the sources and their historical interpretation.
It will be possible to teach and learn history not only reading the analytical synthesis made by others of facts and issues, but as a autonomous reconstruction of history, based on a aware correlation between the identification and access to the direct sources and their contextualisation. A methodology where the learner is the protagonist of his own learning process and where the study of history enriches not only the knowledge of facts but the critical spirit to give an interpretation of them.
The use of multimedia potential for writing highly communicative and interactive teaching materials and the use of Internet as a tool for circulation of information and knowledge sharing opens to a possible new approach for the writing of history.
The circulation of information at transnational level, fosters the building up of the idea that the history of Europe must be analysed as a sum and a result of the different national histories, and makes possible to experiment new forms of historical writing based on a transnational cooperative participation of different subjects working on the development of same text.
Promote integration between University history professors researchers, and students of different European countries involving them in a common effort for the development of an Internet Portal that will become the common point of reference for the innovation of materials and methodologies for history teaching, based on the effective use of ICT potential to:
- Facilitate the availability and reproduction of historical sources and interpretative materials (original documents, films, photos, classic text etc.) through their gathering and accessibility through Internet based Data Bases and specifically built up research engines.
- Offer new methods of history writing that exploiting ICT potential in terms of interactivity in order to enhance an autonomous process of understanding history events and issues of the reader, through the possibility to verify the interpretation of the sources made by the writer, by accessing them directly.
- Develop new forms of historical writing enhancing, through multimediality, the construction of a shared interpretation of history events at European level experimenting forms of transnational online cooperative historical writing.
Development of the Internet Portal
All those involved in the project will contribute to the creation and to the development of the Portal which will act as a reference point in order to allow for comparison at European level on the themes proposed by the project.
The portal will be structured in different Sections:
History Sources Section
That will be divided into 3 areas according to the different typology of items researched during phase 1: 1. Direct Sources; 2. Materials for the contextualisation of history sources; 3. Essays and monographs
The section will include a specific meta-research engine which will allow the users to carry out research moving within the different databases made accessible in the Portal, in order to find all the items available focusing on a specific historical event or issue.
Training packages section
In this section three training packages that will be developed during the project’s activities will be made available:
- The Guide to the effective use of the Portal, that will provide users with a step by step path for the effective use of all the functions and technical principles set up into the portal in order to exploit the full potential of the research tools provided;
- The Guide to the use digital contents for reconstructing history;
- The Guide for online cooperative writing of history.
History materials produced Section
The section will collect the materials produced during the testing of the portal when:
- Each national workgroup will create an example of re-construction and description of an historical event through the exploitation of ICT to create a correspondence between the sources used and their interpretation.
- All the workgroups will experiment the methodology for cooperative online historical writing with the groups from the other countries, creating a transnational interpretation on a selected history event.
Virtual meeting space
The portal will also provide the project participants with the operational tools for exchanging opinions, information and experiences in both a synchronous way (virtual conferencing) and an asynchronous way (General forums and thematic forums), creating an integration between researchers and academics of various European countries.
Collection of tools for the study of history
Each partner will create a workgroup composed by history professors, researchers and students, that will be committed to the gathering and analysis of the digital archives and tools for the study of history available on the European market.
The research will concentrate on three main areas:
- Direct Sources. A research of all the digital archives available at European level will be carried out in order to make accessible the widest collection of direct sources to be used for history interpretation. This section wil be created through the gathering of:
- Documental library composed by digital libraries and archives which make historical documents and classic texts available in digital format.
- Iconographic library composed by materials as: video, photos, images etc. are precious tools for the comprehension of the collective imagination of generations of European citizens.
- Media library which collects archives concerning publications such as journals, newspapers and other publications.
- Materials for the contextualisation of history sources. In order to gather these materials the national workgroups will refer to existing database and will focus on:
- Database of educative manuals (Edisco in Italy, Emmanuelle in France, Manes in Spain, Red Patre Manes, Latin America, Belgium, Portugal and Georg Eckert Institut in Germany).
- Databases which collect material for e-learning in history.
- Database of specific tools as: Geographical maps, history dictionaries etc..
- A research engine (multiopac) focused on sources for the study of modern and contemporary history, web resources and materials for the comparative study of the different European realities
- Essays and monographs. The workgroups will also concentrate on a research of a selection of history essays and monographs which will be catalogues and synthesised and made available in digital format, translated in English when necessary.
All the items founded will be duly analysed, categorised and evaluated by the workgroups during the research activity. Each archive, digital library, database etc. will be described in its main contents and characteristic and validated according to parameters as: completeness, accessibility, quality of materials etc.
Testing of the Portal
In each partner country 1 pilot group, formed by University professors, researchers and students will be set up and committed to experiment the use of the portal.
The national groups will have to work using the tools provided by the Portal in order to create a multimedia text reconstructing an history event linking their interpretation of the sources used, to the availability of the sources themselves, allowing the reader to analyse critically the choices of the writers and to develop an own personal interpretation of the history event.
While producing their text the workgroup will register they’re work methodology, progresses, difficulties and main results on a report, that will be used as a reference for the development of The Guide to the use digital contents for reconstructing history.
The different countries national workgroups will work on the same theme. After the completion of the first task, the national workgroups, having their nationally based product as a reference, will work cooperatively in experimenting a cooperative on-line writing of historical interpretation of the event. A virtual open source environment will be opened on the Portal, where all workgroups will contribute to the reconstruction of the historical event on the basis of a transnational perspective.
A Report of the activity carried out will be created, outlining main methodological issues, strengths and weaknesses encountered, in order to be used as a reference for the development of The Guide for online cooperative writing of history.
Development of training packages
All workgroups will be involved in the cooperative creation of two different teaching packages:
- The Guide to the use digital contents for reconstructing history
- The Guide for online cooperative writing of history
The contents of the two guides will be created following the same process. The Guide will result from the valorisation of the most effective methodological concepts and best practices as emerged from the national report produced during the testing of the Portal.
A first draft will be produced by the project’s promoter; the draft will be then presented to the partner’s in order to collect impressions and contributions.
On the basis of the feedbacks coming from the different partners, the promoter will produce the final version of the Guides that will be both made accessible onto the project Portal.
- Availability a complete collection of sources, didactic materials and specific research and analysis tools for the interpretation and description of history, available at European level through a comprehensive Database and research engine.
- Availability of a flexible educational packages focusing on exploitation of multimedia potential in order to link their interpretation of the sources used to reconstruct history events, to the availability of the sources themselves, allowing the reader to autonomously form their own personal interpretation of the history event.
- Will create and test an educational package focused on experimenting a methodology of cooperative online writing of history, in order to enhance a mutual reflection at European level that starting from the different countries perspectives, arrives to the definition of an agreed interpretation of European history.