Dr. Sword’s comments on the place of digital history within academic programs (http://www.journalofamericanhistory.org/issues/952/interchange/index.html) struck a chord with me.  There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the open possibilities created by the egalitarian internet, but the truth is that in this day and age few casual or unsupported projects have much hope in capturing a meaningful audience.  Digital history requires both digital and historical skills (obviously), and it is the rare individual who is strong in both of those disciplines.  I, as a budding historian, feel that I could probably put out some good ideas, historically speaking, but it would look like a seventh grader did them.  Smaller projects run the risk of being sidelined, overshadowed, or constrained enough that they do not really add to the whole.  While I understand the argument that something is better than nothing, even something costs a fair bit of time and money to establish.  If in the end that something is going to be essentially wasted…  Hence the problem with having online projects part of a class curriculum.  There is a very significant hurdle technically moving from one-person negligible-cost projects to meaningful work – in contrast to the building-block approach of academic writing.  Until that hurdle is worked around (and I believe the issue is getting worse, not better) then these types of projects are best re-evaluated.
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