Cohen and Rosenzweig on Truth, Lies, and the Web

Historians have generally taken a dim view of the state of knowledge on the Web, pointing to the many inaccuracies on Web pages written by amateurs. In a new article in First Monday, CHNM Director of Research Projects, Dan Cohen and CHNM Director, Roy Rosenzweig assess this conventional wisdom with the help of CHNM’s innovative H-Bot automated historical fact finder. Adopting mathematical and computational perspectives alien to historians–but not to computer scientists–Cohen and Rosenzweig show that while the Web may include many inaccuracies, when assessed as a whole through statistical means, it is actually extremely accurate. Moreover, Cohen and Rosenzweig’s mathematical methods suggest new techniques for historical research and new approaches to teaching history in an age in which an increasingly significant portion of the past has been digitized.

Take a fresh look at the History Web, this week at CHNM.