The convergence of cellphones with positioning technologies like GPS and electronic compasses make it possible to annotate any place with layers of digital information. As computing and communication devices become smaller and cheaper, the potential for ‘ubiquitous computing’ becomes more real: people begin to imagine computers as things that are embedded into the environment, rather than placed on a desktop or carried around. This week we discuss the implications for historical practice and public history, concentrating on the possibility of making each thing in the world “the protagonist of a documented process … an historical entity with an accessible, precise trajectory through space and time” (Sterling).


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Blogging Assignment

If you’ve had a chance to put down the books and get out for a while, you’ve no doubt noticed that this is the season when everyone goes gift shopping. And what better gift than a nice book? Following the lead of Mr. Dickens, in this assignment you are going to head for Christmas past. Go to and load the Eaton’s Fall and Winter catalogue from 1913-14. Starting on page “n282” you will find a list of books that Eaton’s was selling that season. Your task is to choose 6-8 of the books advertised in the catalogue and find full online digital copies of them. (Some obvious places to search are the Internet Archive, Google Books, Hathi Trust and the Gutenberg Project.) Write a blog post about your search, and provide a list of links to the books that you found. You can also write about some of the books that you couldn’t find. As you’re doing this assignment, pay attention to the unexpected. When you are writing your blog post try to reflect on what you found the most surprising about the process.