As historians must face the challenges of an ever growing number of sources and a list of unqualified publishers too long too count, they must ask themselves how they are going to evolve in this new climate. Despite historians focus on the past, they cannot ignore the evolution of the current state of technology and it’s effect on how history is studied and interacted with. Whether it is archives or encyclopedias online, historians seem to struggle to agree as to the best approach to changing how the practice works in the modern world.
One of the most essential changes that must take place among historians is making information more accessible to more people. It is tempting to put certain archives and information behind paywalls in order to finance yourself or research, however it ends up dividing the discipline and making it harder to grow. In a world that is so quickly changing, history is perhaps more important now than ever. However, if people want to do more research or study certain topics they often have to go digging through cites with paywalls or information buried in cites that have not been maintained. Knowledge must be free for all to access, and if history is to progress as a discipline than this must become a reality.
Historians must be willing to evolve with technology. Too often professors or schools have decided that their method is tried and true and therefore is in no need of updating, regardless of the advance of technology. Whether historians like it or not, Wikipedia is the main source for the average person to seek historical knowledge. Instead of shun or shy away from such things, it must be embraced and managed. If historians spent as much time criticizing things like Wikipedia, as they did adding to it, then imagine just how much better a resource it would be.
Historians and technology seem to not mix particularly well. If historians do not evolve, and seek out new methods to engage not just students but the public, then the discipline will atrophy. Progress waits for no one; while historians argue about who has the rights to what archive and whether online encyclopedias are of any use, the public loses interest more and more.