In November Peter Webster gave a keynote lecture to the HES conference in Exeter, with the title ‘Doing history in a 360-degree digitised world: how we got here, and what to do about it’. It was a great pleasure to spend time with the Society, and Peter greatly appreciated the invitation to come and speak.
The impact of the digital in the practice of history is hardly new, having now itself a history of several decades. But in very recent years scholars of all kinds have had to reckon with a new pervasiveness of digital technologies in every aspect of their work: from the discovery, retrieval and handling of sources, through the means of storing and analysing information, to the processes of writing, editing, publishing, and communicating. As well as revolutionising historical method, this condition of what one might call 360-degree digitisation also requires a recasting of the relationships between scholars, libraries and archives, publishers, universities, the public, and those who build and provide digital tools and services. The lecture gave an overview of how the current situation came about, and how historians might best work within (and even against) it.
The lecture itself was not recorded, although some version of it may be published in due course. In the meantime, there’s a short video in which Peter outlines the lecture.