How can we bridge the study of urban history and popular presentation of the urban past? How can be urban history be relevant beyond academia? And how does it relate to the challenging topic of heritage? These questions, posed by historian Peter Borsay in 1991 are still up for discussion. The Amsterdam Time Machine aims to help bridge the fields and datasets of history and heritage, but also to provide a place where the potential and problems in collaborations can be openly discussed.
No need for a single definition here, we’d rather use the Time Machine to ask what history looks like in the digital medium. Perhaps we can, for now, call it, borrowing here from Bob Shoemaker, a public facing research resource. In this case, a resource tha t facilitates zooming in and zooming out socially and geographically, and asking questions on different time scales.
a spatial approach
We hope to facilitate different methods and approaches to history and heritage, but like many digital history resources, we favor space as means to organise and present information. We’re influenced by the spatial turn when it comes to analysing the role of space and place in historical change and continuity. NB. In this explanation of the spatial turn in history, Jo Guldi challenges the city as privileged unity of analysis for social-historical research.
The Time Machine links data from many different sources, seeking points of convergence and developing reference lists for wider use. [something on transparency] etc.
Digital methods are increasingly common in undergraduate and graduate humanities classrooms, and we think the Time Machine can be used as a pedagogical tool. We develop the Amsterdam Time Machine together with students and They also allow students to engage with new technology, collaborate with peers, graduate students, and faculty, and produce tangible scholarship that is publicly visible