History

“Mobile gaming isn’t gaming”

Last week at BlizzCon 2018, a gaming convention held by the video game developer Blizzard Entertainment, Blizzard Entertainment announced its newest game: ‘Diablo Immortal’. This announcement was not met with the usual excitement, but instead received a huge backlash from the Diablo fanbase. One disappointed fan even asked the announcer whether “this is an out-of-season April Fool’s joke”. For anyone who has…

A meme a day keeps the doctor away

“An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.” This definition has been given to the word by the Oxford Dictionary. But to really get a feel of the meaning it is better to look at the somewhat dramatic definition that the Urban Dictionary gives meme: “The…

Double-keying

Computers can do anything or almost anything. They can even read books with the help of Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Images from printed pages are converted into searchable and editable digital text. OCR has become better, that is: more accurate, over the years. Text collections like Google Books (over 25 million book titles), Project Gutenberg (57.000 free eBooks) and Delpher (in the…

Venice Time Machine

Probably one of the coolest digital historical projects I’ve ever run into is the Venice Time Machine. Before we talk any further, you should watch a short YouTube video they made, because that will preempt a lot of explaining. You can stop at 2:20 and skip the credits.* The main thing is this: the reconstruction of the Rialto district in Venice over…

The future of the historian

May 2 1968 riots broke out in France. Demonstrations started at Paris University and soon spread all over the country, drawing in more students, factory workers, left-wing political parties and artists. Protests, occupations, strikes, barricades and marches against The Establishment and dominant ideologies like capitalism lasted for the rest of the month and had a major impact on French society. Maybe it…

A Job Well Done

In the blog I wrote last week I talked about the fact that the field of studying old cultures is a somewhat old-fashioned one. And while this is accurate for most of the field, there are also some initiatives in the digital world to make (ancient) history a bit more accessible. In today’s blog I want to shine a light on how…