The great events of history are to a large extent replicated and recorded in the media. Since the nineteen-nineties, the Internet has become one of the cornerstones of our society’s communications infrastructure, an everyday tool both in terms of news creation and dissemination and in its role as a world archive. Above all, the Internet has been set up as a vast repository for the knowledge of our time, disseminated through the digital media in citizen-friendly formats such as blogs, websites, wikis, portals, and also via social networks, the most relevant of these being Facebook and Twitter.
Our initial hypothesis is that the representation of History and Memory within the online environment has cognitive effects on citizens and promotes a specific kind of knowledge due to the fact that the processes of digitalization, multimediation and hypertextualization potentially alter the way in which the past is framed. Secondly, there is the hypothesis which suggests that the historical and commemorative output displayed on these media has a substantial social and cultural content which involves not only the great protagonists of our past but also ordinary citizens and second-level social agents, thus shaping a narrative with a different profile from that produced using conventional media. Citizen participation and the collaborative potential – the pillars of the online environment, the Web 2.0 and the social media - are crucial for this new way of approaching the past. However, this broad extension of knowledge can be superficial and may fail to include the discoveries or contributions of researchers.
The questions which need to be asked are these: who are the authors? Which are the sources, the production method? How does the digital format shape the dissemination of historical content? Which challenges does research face in this new, ever-changing, fluid environment? What are the opportunities offered in terms of improving and disseminating content? In brief, our intention is to find out how historical knowledge is represented, how it is generated and by whom, how socializing takes place in the digital media and, finally, which challenges are posed.
The project Historia y Memoria Histórica on line. Retos y oportunidades para el conocimiento del pasado en Internet (“History and Memory online. Challenges and opportunities for knowledge of the past on the Internet”) has been funded by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (“Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness”) with reference no. HAR-2015-63582-P, MINECO/FEDER for the period 2015-2018