Survey Says …

Over at Bull Runnings, Harry Smeltzer’s operating a survey, and it offers an interesting opportunity to learn something about readership and expectations. You see, Harry’s concerned about the future of Civil War history, too.  Indeed, not long ago he spoke on the topic “The Future of Civil War History From a Slightly Different Point of View” to an audience in North Carolina. Here’s his picture of that audience:


Now he’s offering two polls (perhaps with more to come … I’ll keep you updated) to survey the opinion of his blog’s readers.

Poll question number one: “How do you think most people will learn about the American Civil War period?”

Poll question number two: “From whom do you think most people will learn about the American Civil War period?”

You might want to visit Harry’s blog to cast your vote. In the interest of gathering even more information, I’ve decided to offer the same polls here (perhaps our audiences are different, even if there is overlap).

I admit I might have cast these polls differently, but that’s a different discussion, and besides there is merit in simply presenting the same poll in two different places.

9 thoughts on “Survey Says …

  1. Alan April 23, 2013 / 6:52 pm

    I hate to say it, as this is what I would prefer, but books sadly are going by the wayside, and they shouldn’t. I shudder at websites not authorized by a museum, or an academic facility, or by actual Historians (i.e., McPherson, Holzer, Symonds, and yes, Simpson). As a former Librarian I saw the effects of bad mistakes – even in the updated American Heritage History of the Civil War where there were glowing mistakes on the CD-ROM included with the book.

    If they go out, I am quite sure we are going to miss those brick and mortar bookshops – save for the used ones that will hopefully stay open.

  2. Patrick Young April 23, 2013 / 8:46 pm

    Soon the only book you’ll buy is Pat the Bunny.

  3. Icabod Crane April 23, 2013 / 9:46 pm

    Why put a “period” before a question mark? -Over

    Just Sayin’ -Over

    Icabod Crane

  4. Charles Lovejoy April 24, 2013 / 7:58 am

    The reason I said web sites and blogs, they have directed me to the books and sources i’m interested in. I have learned from Blogs too ‘Student of the Civil War’s ‘ blog has a very informative series in progress on Fort Sumter. A lot of good detailed info and sources. So blogs can be very informative.

    • Brooks D. Simpson April 24, 2013 / 10:36 am

      One of the things I’ve learned is that there are blogs and there are blogs, and different blogs engage their readership in different ways and serve distinct purposes. Grouping them together, I think, blurs these different functions and audiences, just as separating these categories of engagement amuses me, because I teach, I write, I lead battlefield tours and work with the NPS, I blog, and I appear on television. in baseball parlance, I’m a five-tool player. 🙂

      • Charles Lovejoy April 24, 2013 / 11:28 am

        I agree, the reason I feel your blog is a good source for information is that you do lead battlefield tours , write, teach and lecture on the subject of the Civil War. It’s hard to find that all in one place.

  5. Michael Confoy April 24, 2013 / 12:12 pm

    This survey makes me feel intellectually superior. Talk me down please.

  6. Jimmy Dick April 24, 2013 / 6:58 pm

    I brought this up over on Al Mackey’s site, “Student of the Civil War.” I will repost it here in order to solicit comments from this audience. Some quick thoughts on how to create an Internet blogosphere that meets historically accurate standards. To begin with we have several organizations of professional historians. Why not form a council from those groups, then create a website commission that establishes standards for websites and blogs to meet and receive the commission’s seal of approval? Then we educators at all levels can instruct the students about that seal and how it represents historically accurate information, and that information from those sites would be much more likely to be accurate although like in all cases double checking information is always the right thing to do.
    The commission could use periodic review of sites, spot checks, etc. People that blog could and should use their professional affiliations to show they are members of the various groups. Financing the commission could be done by charging an annual fee for the each site that applies for review. Yes, make it an application process. Keep the fee down to a low price. Set up a way for feedback to come to the commission if sites with the seal are failing to maintain the standards.
    I think this could be a viable concept that would create a far better system of creating web content that is historically correct while getting peer review instituted. There is no possible way to review all content, but by creating a commission of reputable historical organizations and a seal of approval for sites we would be instituting a system of peer review. I can just hear the Heritage Instead of History crowd screaming bloody murder now because their sites would never get that seal of approval. They would have to create their own seal (of course with the CBF prominently displayed) of stupidity to maintain their delusional concept of historical accuracy.

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