The truth is out there – you just have to Google it right

ANU’s Marnie Hughes Warrington has abandoned administration for research (CMM February 4). Just now she is thinking now about the history-space where online search creates an intersection between what happened and what happened because enough people asked Google about versions of it. She writes about this in the new entry to her blog as  research notebook.

Even in the Gutenburg Galaxy twas ever thus, “Publishing something in a book does not make it right, and it takes human intelligence to determine whether some things are right and whether we can even be certain about some things in the past,” as she puts it.

But now history can be customised to suit an unsuspecting reader and this can be subject for study.

“In the world of personalised searches, it is highly feasible for two people to search on the same historical topic and to get two different results. A savvy promulgator of error will know that, and know how to optimise results for people I teach, and people who don’t study history at school or university. And I will wonder, over and over again, how those folks can be so naïve or misled. The view from my window on the past is fine, but I hadn’t realised there was more than one window all along, she suggests.

While Professor H-W would never suggest such a thing it’s enough create (ahem) hysteriaography.


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