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Author: Dennis A. Trinkle
Title: History and the Computer Revolutions A Survey of Current Practices
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
April 1999

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Source: History and the Computer Revolutions A Survey of Current Practices
Dennis A. Trinkle

vol. 2, no. 1, April 1999
Article Type: Article
PDF: Download full PDF [23kb ]

History and the Computer Revolutions A Survey of Current Practices

Dennis A. Trinkle

Executive Director
American Association for History and Computing
DePauw University

Amidst the widespread hyperbole about a global Computer Revolution, forceful claims for and against the union of computer technology and history are being made. These claims often overlook the significant roles computer technology has played in history study and research over the last four decades, creating a sense that historians are merely naive neophytes of the digital world. They also often rest on little real understanding of how computer technology is currently being used in the practices of history. To help answer these questions and foster a more informed and productive discussion about the practices of history in the electronic age, the American Association for History and Computing (AAHC) conducted a survey of computer usage among American college and university history professors during the summer and fall of 1998. The survey was distributed through H-Net and other historical discussion lists and was mailed to the chairs of the approximately 660 departments listed in the American Historical Association's Directory of History Departments and Organizations in the United States and Canada. 485 history instructors from 101 American colleges and universities responded. Replies were evenly distributed across rank and degree of technical proficiency. This essay surveys the results of the survey and provides the tabulated data.


Sven Birkerts begins his recent book The Gutenberg Elegies with a belletristic cri de coeur:

Over the past few decades, in the blink of the eye of history, our culture has begun to go through what promises to be a total metamorphosis. The influx of electronic communications and information processing technologies, abetted by the steady improvement of the microprocessor, has rapidly brought a condition of critical mass. The slower world that many of us grew up with dwindles in the rearview mirror. The stable hierarchies of the printed page—one of the defining norms of that world—are being superceded by the rush of impulses through freshly minted circuits. [1]

As a literary critic, Birkerts laments the changing landscape of print culture. His concerns are not connected solely to literature, however. They are intensely interdisciplinary. Faculty in history departments are pondering the same transitions posed in The Gutenberg Elegies. The problem with Birkerts' jeremiad and many coffee break conversations is that they are impressionistically prophetic. History faculty include their Pollyannas with their Jeremiahs, of course, but much of the discussion remains anecdotal. While the end of the world is decried and the dawn of a new age is proclaimed, few attempts have been made to chart what changes are actually occurring.

In order to help foster a more informed and productive discussion about the practices of history in the electronic age, the American Association for History and Computing (AAHC) conducted a survey of computer usage among American college and university history professors during the summer and fall of 1998. [2] The survey was distributed through H-Net and other historical discussion lists and was mailed to the chairs of the approximately 660 departments listed in the American Historical Association Directory of History Departments and Organizations in the United States and Canada. 485 history instructors from 101 American colleges and universities responded. Replies were evenly distributed across rank and degree of technical proficiency. (See data below)

As the full results of the survey reveal, computer technology has gained an established place in the practices of history. Every history instructor who returned the survey is using electronic mail for scholarly communication, and ninety-three percent of the respondents report using computers for research. Problems of access for faculty also appear to be lessening. Every respondent indicated that they can now use the Internet from work. Ninety-eight percent of full-time faculty reported having a computer in their office, with ninety-one percent of those instructors stating that their office computer is connected to the Internet. It must be noted, however, that access for students remains problematic, and community college faculty, adjuncts, and part-time instructors still lag far behind.

The survey also reveals the danger in using unitary metaphors like "the electronic revolution" to describe the process of change occurring in American colleges and universities. Respondents' remarks show that there is great individual and institutional variation in how technology is being applied to the practices of history. The detailed comments following each of the survey questions clearly demonstrate that neither the dangers nor the promise of computer technology can be adequately addressed through broad comments about general trends affecting the profession. To invert Georges Lefebvre's famous injunction about the French Revolution—the computer revolution is not a block.

There are, of course, some shared experiences that are reflected across the entire range of surveys. Experimentation with technology in the history classroom, albeit in widely divergent forms, is a central theme. Eighty percent of those surveyed reported using technology in teaching, and forty-six percent state that they are now requiring their students to use email for course purposes. Forty-four percent also have begun requiring students to use the Internet for research exercises, papers, and seminars, though twenty-three percent of this later group expressed concerns about the reliability of information on the Internet.

To address the problem of quality many faculty report trying a variety of pro-active experiments. Fifty-four percent of the respondents have begun devoting class sessions to technical instruction and workshops. Many are offering students specific instruction on how to find and evaluate materials on the Internet. Respondents are also turning to printed scholarly guides to Internet resources, such as The History Highway, and to on-line guides, such as The Argus Clearinghouse, the OCLC Internet Cataloging Project, and the Encyclopedia Britannica's E-Blast to direct students to reliable materials. [3]

Instructors are also creating their own web sites to help guide students to dependable on-line materials and provide other useful resources. Forty-seven percent of the respondents stated that they have developed their own course sites. This measure masks great variety, however. For most of the faculty in this group, the creation of a web site means primarily making a copy of their syllabus and schedule available on the web and directing students to several web sites relevant to the course. A smaller group of faculty (who report greater technical support at their university or some training in computer technology) is producing more complex web resources for their students. The materials mentioned traverse a wide technical range from annotated course readings to interactive tutorials and sophisticated historical databases.

A significant number of faculty are also requiring students to create as well as use on-line multimedia materials. Twenty-seven percent have begun asking students to produce individual web sites for their courses, and twenty-one percent require or encourage students to develop group web projects. Many courses are now meeting at least occasionally in computer labs to work with or on multimedia materials. These projects are most frequently mentioned as part of upper-level history courses, but a number of faculty are encouraging students to create multimedia projects even at the introductory level.

Anecdotal comments indicate that there are still many history instructors across all ranks and institutional types who are uncomfortable with the use of multimedia projects in teaching history. The rationale most often given is that requiring multimedia projects necessitates greater student preparation. The other side of this complaint is the second most repeated explanation: "teaching technical skills at the expense of historical content and methodology is a calculus of dubious value." Similarly, a number of respondents question the benefits of adopting technology relative to the high costs in purely economic terms. One representative respondent poses the question: Which leads more directly to good history teaching—"a new computer lab or a new full-time history professor?"

Importantly, a number of those already actively using multimedia projects and materials in their courses also question the benefits to learning outcomes. These complaints come primarily from faculty at community colleges and state universities, especially from those at schools moving aggressively to develop distance learning programs. These instructors echo concerns about students being poorly prepared to use computers in the classroom. They raise fundamental questions about the success of distance learning for early undergraduates in history. More than twenty instructors anecdotally claimed that participation and enthusiasm dropped in direct correlation to the amount of hours spent on-line in a course. One professor who has conducted a quantitative comparative study of his distance and traditional versions of an otherwise identical course, reported that use of the Internet and multimedia projects negatively affected student interest, communication with the instructor, and performance.

Reflecting these anxieties, seventy-three percent of faculty worry that their present use of technology is inadequate or poorly conceived. They express concerns about outdated technology, insufficient training, lack of release time, student resistance, negative impact upon tenure and promotion decisions, and unforeseen or negative effects upon the quality of their teaching. A number of faculty also reiterate deep concerns, already being widely heard, about how technology is being implemented and used on their campuses. Thirty-five percent of the respondents claimed that they were required by their institutions to use the Internet for their courses. Some of the mandatory uses indicated included offering state-required "technology across the curriculum" courses, putting syllabi on the Internet, making course enrollment and grade records available on-line, and even using technology provided by a specific corporation as mandated by a partnership agreement. Eleven percent of the respondents specifically noted as their central concern the lack of faculty involvement in planning and policy making. More generally, sixty-five percent claimed to be dissatisfied with their institutions' technology policies, initiatives, and plans for the future. The most common complaint is that "the administration is imposing technology without consulting faculty" and with "little regard for its impact upon teaching or learning." Others worry that the human dimensions of the profession are being devalued and disregarded. They argue that the union of technology and history will exacerbate the job crisis, further commercialize and dehumanize the profession, and increase the use of adjuncts, part-time instructors, and graduate students. Collectively, these complaints illustrate many of the central issues which the profession must continue to address if technology is to be sensibly and productively incorporated into the practices of history.

Overall, however, the spirit of the surveys is not pessimistic. As the fuller figures and selected comments indicate, there is an alert recognition throughout the profession that the Internet and World Wide Web are changing, or hold the potential to change, every dimension of history—from the structures of historical knowledge to the paradigms of pedagogy. The criticisms which resonate in the responses demonstrate a pervasive desire by faculty to actively direct the courses these changes will follow. The current state of history reflected in the surveys can, perhaps, be best described as cautiously optimistic experimentation.

As appropriate for such a period of uncertain transition, there is no consensus about where the discipline is headed. The experiments do suggest the development of new modes of historical interpretation, explanation, and instruction, but the story will likely be one of increased options. Just as television has not replaced radio, and modern scientific thought has not supplanted metaphysics, well-established practices of history will not disappear, rather they will most likely find novel and productive supplements through evolving computer technologies. The American Association for History and Computing, the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and other professional bodies must not stand idly by and allow market forces or ironic detachment to determine future disciplinary practices. Historians must take advantage of the Internet's power to foster community so that we may collectively shape the forms history will take in the next millennium.


1. Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in the Electronic Age (New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1994) p. 3.

2. Portions of this summary appeared previously in Dennis A. Trinkle, "Computers and the Practice of History: Where Are We? Where Are We Headed?," Perspectives 37:2 (February 1999): 31-4.

3. Dennis Trinkle et al., The History Highway (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1998). The Argus Clearinghouse:; The OCLC Internet Cataloging Project:; and the Encyclopedia Britannica's E-Blast:

Dennis A. Trinkle <>
Executive Director, American Association for History and Computing
DePauw University

Survey Results

A Note on Methodology:

The survey was distributed through H-Net and other historical discussion lists and was mailed via the United States Post Office to the chairs of the approximately 660 departments listed in the American Historical Association Directory of History Departments and Organizations in the United States and Canada. 485 history instructors from 101 American colleges and universities responded. Replies were representatively distributed across rank and degree of technical proficiency. In addition, to a simple yes or no answer, respondents were asked to provide extended explanations relating to each question. Representative remarks illustrating themes that appeared repeatedly in the surveys are listed below.

Institutions Represented:

  • Allegheny College
  • Allegheny University of Health Science
  • Amarillo College
  • American University
  • Appalachian State University
  • Assumption College
  • Ball State University
  • Bates College
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Brock University
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • California State University, Fullerton
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Christian Brothers University
  • Cleveland State University
  • College Misericordia
  • Concordia University
  • DePauw University
  • Elon College
  • Emory University, Carroll College
  • Essex Community College
  • Florida International University
  • George Mason University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Georgia Technical University
  • Hagerstown Community College
  • Harvard College
  • Humboldt State University
  • Indiana University
  • Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
  • Kettering University
  • Kingwood College
  • LeTourneau University
  • Levinsky College
  • Lincoln University of Missouri
  • Louisiana State University-Shreveport
  • Marymount University
  • Mercy College
  • Messiah College
  • Miami University
  • Michigan State University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Montana State University-Billings
  • Morehead State University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oakland University
  • Oberlin College
  • Ohio University
  • Ohio State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Pacific University
  • Rose Hulman University
  • San Francisco State University
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Southwestern University
  • Spelman College
  • Stanford University
  • Stephen F. Austin State University
  • SUNY/Empire State College
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • Texas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Texas Technical University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Whitman College
  • Wichita State University
  • Winthrop University
  • Wittenburg University
  • William Tyndale College
  • Woodbury University
  • Wright State University
  • The Union Institute
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alaska-Fairbanks
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California-Davis
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • University of California-Riverside
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Colorado-Denver
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • University of Illinois-Urbana
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • University of Oklahoma-Norman
  • University of Richmond
  • University of South Carolina-Sumter
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Toledo
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Xavier University
1a. Do you have a computer in your office?

YES: 472
NO: 12
1b. Do you have Internet access from your office?

YES: 440
NO: 40
1c. Do you have Internet access from your home?

YES: 420
NO: 60
2. Does your university require you to use computer technology in any way?

YES: 168
NO: 304

Representative Remarks:

  • Required to send and receive e-mail
  • There are state requirements for technology competency that must be met by students 
  • Record keeping must be done using a database
  • Required ATeaching and Learning with Technology@ program
  • Instructors required to post syllabi on Internet and are encouraged to use computers in class
  • Library catalog only accessible electronically
  • Course enrollment data sent by computer
  • Registration/scheduling information done via computer
  • Grades recorded on-line
  • On-line graduate thesis/dissertation program
  • Access to student files through on-line database
  • Word Processing
  • Use of IBM technology strongly encouraged because of partnership
  • Instructor of on-line course

3. Do you currently use computer technology in your research?

YES: 448
NO: 36

Representative Remarks:

  • Access libraries and databases
  • Use self-programmed prosopographical database (relational database)
  • Use statistical programs
  • Literature searches of secondary writings on various topics
  • Access archives on-line
  • Access historical reviews on-line
  • Use FileMaker Pro 4.0, NUD*IST, (and other packages) to categorize and analyze data
  • Access on-line library and archive catalogs 
  • Word processing
  • E-mail
  • Discussion lists
  • Download manuscripts
  • Use note-taking and bibliographic software
  • Locate sources on CD or web
  • Read electronic newsletters
  • Use hand-held scanner
  • Access census data on the Net
  • Publish e-journals
  • Use spreadsheets
  • Use SPSS to process data, run statistical tests
  • Use GIS for mapping
  • Run programs for content analysis
  • Host web site to collect data on electric car drivers and owners

4. Do you currently use computer technology for scholarly communication?

YES: 484
NO: 0

Representative Remarks:

  • E-mail
  • E-Conferences
  • Discussion groups
  • Send papers to colleagues or conference organizers
  • Exchange draft manuscripts with local and distant co-authors
  • Edit on-line historical reviews
  • Read electronic reviews
  • Subscribe to H-Net lists
  • Collaborative editing
  • Referee articles
  • Purchase books
  • ILL
  • Fax

5. Do you currently use computer technology in your teaching?

YES: 388
NO: 8
6. Do you offer on-line courses?

YES: 108
NO: 344
7. Do you require students to use e-mail in your courses?

YES: 224
NO: 232

Representative Remarks:

  • Used in informatics course
  • Mailing list established for student communication, discussions
  • Web site established with information on classes and links to sites relevant for classes
  • Syllabi posted on web
  • Not required because college serves older students, most of whom do not have computers!
  • Students required to know how to use e-mail
  • Assignments submitted via e-mail
  • Web bulletin boards used
  • Lotus cabinet used to post discussion questions and answers
  • E-mail not required because it is not a free service to students, so not all students can afford it
  • Course organized as on-line conference
  • Course listserv available, weekly papers submitted via e-mail

8. Do you require students to use any software packages in your courses?

YES: 88
NO: 368

Representative Remarks:

  • Use browser-based tools
  • Web interface
  • Chat rooms
  • Simulations
  • Use Excel
  • Students required to use word processors, e-mail software
  • Netscape Communicator used to view and develop web pages
  • Hypertext conferencing
  • Use statistical and content analysis programs
  • Use graphics manipulation software (Paintshop/Photoshop)
  • Use PowerPoint and Presentations (presentation software)
  • Use SPSS
  • Use GIS 

9. Do you require students to use discussion groups, chat rooms, or web bulletin boards in your courses?

YES: 128
NO: 324

Representative Remarks:

  • Use Front Page 98 and its features for on-line discussions
  • Students required to post on bulletin boards
  • Use Discussion groups 
  • Use Netscape Collabra Software 
  • Use of Lotus cabinet
  • Do not use above technology because "students are not matureenough to handle the responsibility it entails"
  • Use Lotus Notes

10. Do you require students to use the Internet for research in your courses?

YES: 212
NO: 252

Representative Remarks:

  • Use of Medline and DXPlain
  • Library Catalogs
  • Introduction to Internet use
  • Used in Methods of History Research class
  • Students asked to find news articles, current events information for course
  • Students required to use on-line course pages, visit web sites, and report findings on bulletin board
  • Students required to write abstracts of seven Internet sources related to the class
  • Students write reviews of web sites
  • Internet used to locate sources
  • Students create web page which includes original research
  • Students post reading assignments and a research paper on the web
  • Internet used for library searches and to locate and order books

11. Do you require/encourage students to create individual multimedia presentations or web sites as an assignment in your courses?

YES: 132
NO: 328

Representative Remarks:

  • Students enrolled in informatics course do web project
  • Multimedia projects abandoned due to lack of response from students
  • Students encouraged to design web pages
  • Not required because of lack of knowledge on part of instructor
  • Students may choose to do PowerPoint presentation
  • No.  These presentations would detract from the teaching of history
  • Term papers done on multimedia web format
  • Students review and write about web pages and present their findings
  • Students do research project, share results
  • Instructor prefers writing (the pen-and-paper kind)
  • Instructor has enough trouble getting students to write at all
  • Seminar project involves creation of web page

12. Do you require/encourage students to create group multimedia presentations or web sites as an assignment in your courses?

YES: 100
NO: 348

Representative Remarks:

  • Students enrolled in informatics course do web project
  • Projects abandoned because students unresponsive
  • Students encouraged to include links to web sites in their own required group postings
  • Students create group web pages
  • Students use PowerPoint, Hypercard studios
  • Web page is done as class group project
  • Students evaluate resources available on the web and create annotated web sites in groups

13. Do you create a web site for students in your courses?

YES: 228
NO: 228

Representative Remarks:

  • Course pages with class information are available
  • Course page includes course outline and tips on writing essays
  • Web site with syllabi and links to other relevant web sites
  • Web site would not be useful since most students do not have computers
  • Hand-outs available on web
  • Use Visual Classroom
  • Use IntraNet
  • Instructor lacks knowledge as to how to develop a web page
  • Web page created to which students attach assignments
  • Pages created by former students
  • Electronic reserves and reading list available on web

14. Do you use the Internet to offer students interactive or self-directed opportunities to learn?

YES: 96
NO: 280

Representative Remarks:

  • Weekly assignments require web site visits
  • Distance education students hold virtual discussions on a virtual bulletin board
  • Would like to do so but technological support not available
  • Do not want to do this because of concern about plagiarism
  • Offered as extra credit
  • Presented as research opportunity

15. Do you use computers for assessment purposes?

YES: 108
NO: 340

16. Please describe any additional ways in which you use computer technology in your teaching?

Representative Remarks:

  • Used to create syllabi, exams, handouts, overheads
  • Use LCD panel with CLARIS IMPACT "slides" as outlines during lecture
  • Use desktop interactive video
  • Use e-mail to communicate with TA's, doctoral candidates
  • Students submit assignments via e-mail
  • Used for multimedia classroom presentations, PowerPoint presentations
  • Use web board with chat capabilities
  • Use access newspaper archives, distribute outprints
  • Use re-create primary source documents
  • Used for grading
  • Word processing
  • Used for writing and editing workshop files
  • Used for paradigm drilling and grammar analysis in foreign language skills
  • Used to create graphics
  • Extra information posted on-line, used to augment lecture
  • Demonstrates web sites in class

17. Do you provide students in your courses with any specific technological training (either personally or through computing support services)?

YES: 260
NO: 196

Representative Remarks:

  • Initial orientation to laptops provided
  • Training in library and Internet use
  • Research Methods class meets weekly in computer lab
  • All history honors students provided with training in first year
  • Database construction taught to history honor students in second year
  • Graduate student available for assistance
  • Training session for Lotus Notes cabinet
  • Training in use of web for research
  • HTML introduction
  • Workshop on the creation of web pages
  • Course on critical use of information available on the web
  • Nota Bene/SPSS workshops
  • Students taught how to use computers to register, use e-mail
  • Lab director helps interested students learn high-level program 
  • Expert students teach HTML and basic web page design

18. Does your institution provide technology training for you?

YES: 429
NO: 36

Representative Remarks:

  • Humanities Computing Center available for faculty
  • University Computing Center available, although fee required
  • Reference librarians provide instruction
  • Technological support and training available: classes, helpline, software library, computer labs
  • Help available, but tech specialists do not convey information well (inadequate teachers)
  • Internet connections and training on software and hardware provided
  • Computer literacy course required
  • Given computers, then left to fend for oneself
  • Computer center available, but help limited
  • Support available, but no training
  • Workshops available for faculty regarding use of programs and software (PageMill, Photoshop)
  • Grant support available for multimedia classes
  • Hotline available
  • Training and support only for tenure-track faculty

19. Do you consider your institution's support adequate?

YES: 200
NO: 248

How could it specifically be improved? Representative Remarks:

  • Improvement needed at departmental level
  • Improve support, get faculty more willing to devote time and energy
  • Hire technicians who are better teachers
  • Update machines and software
  • Establish regular and mandatory training on basic software
  • Hire more technicians
  • Establish more labs
  • Establish more advanced courses
  • Need more printers in department
  • Need consultant and more sophisticated library catalogs
  • Need more discussion among faculty and those learning
  • Better and more equipment needed
  • Need more web tools for less sophisticated users
  • Need more money
  • Need to convert to Windows format
  • More time necessary to develop methods of teaching technology
  • Need faster upgrades
  • Need better access to Internet
  • Need better maintenance, more consideration for MAC users
  • Training needs to be more specific
  • Take care not to let technology overshadow more traditional materials
  • Technicians need to work with each discipline specifically
  • More lines for modem access are needed
  • Need on-line tutorials
  • Need training on Internet as a research tool
  • More support is necessary for older users
  • Long-term grants necessary for the purchase of materials      such as laptops

20. Does your department have any special technological facilities?

YES: 244
NO: 216

Representative Remarks:

  • "Wired" departmental office
  • T1 line
  • Center for undergraduates in history: two terminals, full range of programs, local net only, library access, microprocessing
  • Multimedia machines available
  • No facilities: old-fashioned ideas predominate in department
  • Separate computer lab for history department
  • Professors given money to purchase computer
  • Faculty offices connected to 10baseT Ethernet
  • Laser discs available
  • Proposal for teaching lab denied
  • While available, lab not good because requests for upgrades denied
  • Scanner available
  • Faculty provided with laptops
  • Laser printers available
  • Smart classroom (linked to LAN/WAN intranet)
  • Computer pool for students
  • Student seats and podium in classrooms have network connections 
  • Classes have web access
  • Adobe Photoshop available

21. Are you satisfied with your present use of technology in your teaching?

YES: 132
NO: 316

Representative Remarks:

  • More development requires institutional support, task not yet recognized universally as valuable
  • Could use more history courseware
  • Need more instruction on part of professor
  • Need to research more to determine how to best use technology 
  • Would like to use web more for providing resources tostudents
  • Needs more technical advisors to help in use of new technology
  • Exploring more ways to bring technology into classroom
  • Wants to establish electronic discussion sections and course home page
  • Worried that equipment will not function properly
  • Discussions with students not always fruitful
  • Wants students to have basic computer knowledge, but text more interesting than computer programs has been able to find
  • Access to computers too limited, funding not available forexpansion
  • Wants to work more with multimedia
  • Needs laptop and computer projection unit
  • Wants students to feel more comfortable with technology
  • Needs more time to learn what is available
  • Feels use of technology does not improve teaching
  • Not satisfied with information gaps on web
  • Interested in using computer to replace overheads
  • Wants to incorporate slides and music into unified computer format, but has no time and does not feel comfortable with the technology
  • Wants more systematic us of Internet for student discussion

22. Are you satisfied with your present use of technology in your research?

YES: 328
NO: 144

Representative Remarks:

  • Needs more training
  • Wishes more archives had finding aids on-line
  • Would like more sharing of information among academics
  • Wants more information to be available and would like toa ccess it faster
  • Feels scholars and research institutions are not prominent enough on the web.
  • Would like to create on-line archive
  • Feels that keeping up with changing technology takes too much time
  • Wants to keep programs geared to personal needs
  • Feels daunted by idea of searching through "junk" on web
  • Feels too many security barriers exist in government research
  • Feels more archives need to be available on-line
  • Needs more specialized information available on the web
  • Need more subject-oriented software 
  • Wants increased sophistication in statistical analyses
  • Wants to put case study on-line

23. Are you satisfied with your present use of technology for scholarly communication?

YES: 392
NO: 72

Representative Remarks:

  • Communication abundant, almost too much of it
  • Unsatisfied because other team members do not use e-mail
  • Unsatisfied because feels there exists lack of involvement in scholarly communication
  • Wants to see use of video as part of listservs
  • Happy with listservs and e-mail
  • Feels schools should be LAN/WAN intranet integrated
  • Unsatisfied because hardware for realtime conferencing is unavailable
  • Pleased with networks and H-Net
  • Feels that more researchers should use available technology, communication restricted at this point in time
  • Unsatisfied because wants to create own web page but is unable to do so

24. Do you feel that your institution has an appropriate plan for present and future purchase and use of technology?

YES: 168
NO: 144

Representative Remarks:

  • Funding does not exist to institute plans
  • Not satisfied because there never seems to be enoughtechnological support and colleagues are not interested in obtaining more because learning curve is too great
  • Satisfied because willingness exists to use technology forpurposes beyond administrative applications
  • Satisfied because institution invested in hardware, personnel, and is incorporating distance learning, support and time are given to allow faculty to develop web-based instruction
  • Unsatisfied because promised technology has notmaterialized
  • Upgrades and establishment of campus network are planned
  • Long-distance learning program expected to be expanded
  • Planning to buy computers for faculty, expanding number ofavailable programs
  • Satisfied because faculty continually supplied with updatedhardware
  • Unsatisfied because institution is eliminating studentuniversity accounts, eradicating student access to the network
  • Unsatisfied because given so much new technology so quicklythat does not have time to decide how to use it sensibly and effectively
  • Unsatisfied because repair is uncertain
  • Feels more emphasis needs to be placed on the use ofcomputers in the humanities. Sciences are receiving disproportionate funding
  • Unsatisfied because so much money put into computingfacilities that library is suffering, "computer bureaucracy" is consuming financial resources

25. What would you like to be able to do with technology that you are presently unable to accomplish?

Representative Remarks:

  • Create a web site
  • Teach more e-history
  • Create and experiment with self-directed program, provided that financial and technological support are available
  • Give students access to wider range of material
  • Database programming
  • Establish class bulletin board
  • Use web and CD-ROM technology in classroom
  • See more reliability and compatibility in software and hardware
  • Connect students with other students taking same course at a different university
  • Explore more ways to post primary documents on the web and create interactive maps
  • Would like basic instruction course to be available for students 
  • Develop programs for interactive exercises
  • Free access to Lexis/Nexis
  • Search more digitalized collections
  • Get less expensive CD-ROMs
  • Use videos on-line
  • Improve projection equipment
  • Incorporate multimedia in the classroom
  • See specialized books become machine-readable
  • Have more cooperation from colleagues
  • Have French spell checker that includes thesaurus and gender checker
  • Establish more computer labs
  • Have faster access to historical data and files, more efficient communication
  • Wants 3-D didactic creations
  • Present streaming video into student rooms
  • Exams on computers
  • Have students turn in papers on-line
  • Develop better graphics
  • Full-text retrieval
  • Use spatial analysis in historical files
  • Be subjected to less e-mail
  • Solve problems with Hebrew letters on Internet
  • Have interactive web-based classes
  • Make basic hardware available for those without large incomes
  • Get all students on-line
  • Better scanning programs to create course files and ease cost of course reading packets
  • International collaboration in forming databases
  • Learn more about non-linear statistical analysis
  • Have access to more archives, search collections with      greater ease

26. What problems do you presently see or foresee with your use of technology?

Representative Remarks:

  • Bandwidth
  • Insufficient funds
  • Administrative obstacles
  • Not all faculty/staff have access to hardware/software
  • Keeping up with changing technology is difficult
  • Problems with web-plagiarism 
  • Lack of time to learn about new technology
  • Lack of skill to use technology effectively
  • Difficulty in connecting technology with effective teaching     and learning
  • Not all students have computer access
  • Equipment and training not always available
  • Problems with intercompatibility and reliability
  • Learning about new technology takes time away from scholarly pursuits, teaching, and administrative duties
  • Present structure of merit pay and promotion criterial discourages devoting time to developing technology
  • Technology tends to distance faculty from students
  • Lack of familiarity of colleagues poses problem in team-oriented exercises
  • Too much e-mail devalues any single message
  • Technology often used inappropriately
  • Lack of organization of web resources
  • Doubt credibility of web resources
  • When students are busy trying to learn software, they aredistracted from course content 
  • Technology problematic when it becomes central interest andnot a tool
  • Technology scares students
  • Technology generates problems with commercialism and copyright issues
  • Constant need to update
  • Ownership disputes over future on-line courses
  • Too much pornography and not enough dedication to solvingproblems
  • Technology used like books and paper, new possibilities seldom explored
  • Inequality among wealthy and not-so-wealthy studentsexacerbated by availability (or lack) of technology
  • Computers being "pushed" for wrong reasons (politics, etc.)
  • Crashes interrupt work
  • Problems with guiding students in appropriate use of web

27. What problems do you presently see or foresee with your institution's use of technology?

Representative Remarks:

  • Bandwidth
  • Lack of money
  • Administrative obstacles
  • Fear of long distance learning
  • Fear of the degradation of the learning environment
  • Difficulty in keeping up with rapid changes
  • Difficult to find time to devote to new technology
  • Difficulty finding skilled users of new technology
  • Unrealistic promises when funds are short
  • Present system discourages professors from devoting time to understanding technology
  • Inadequate infrastructure to support classroom use oftechnology
  • Cannot agree on what is important
  • Over-reliance on technology detrimental to classroom teaching: technology can help but not replace personal interactions
  • "Everything becomes less important"
  • Technology scares women students away
  • Technology used inappropriately
  • Rush to cancel print resources means that quality of digitalized resources must improve
  • Departments fighting for scarce lab resources
  • Inequality in access to resources
  • Lack of training resources
  • Despite the "hype", students are not interested
  • Programs need to be more user friendly
  • Inadequate support for users
  • Catering to students wealthy enough to afford the equipment puts poor students at disadvantage
  • Difficulty finding software to match needs of user
  • Need protection from hackers
  • Bureaucracy a problem
  • Resources diverted from other areas, such as the library
  • Few people are willing to experiment with quantitative research in the humanities
  • Planning not coming from faculty or students but rather driven by available technologies