What is different about the History in the Williams Valley website?

In many ways the potential of the Internet and the power of its interactive technology has yet to be felt in the field of history. Yes many history websites exist and looking up who did what when has never been easier. Nevertheless most historical research continues to be limited to a staid chronology perhaps interspersed with images and links to other sites – good but by no means good enough.

The aim of History in the Williams Valley is to bring about a truly local history. To use the power of modern information technology to gather from the widest possible range of sources a detailed history of a relatively small specific geographic area, a history that can be built up interactively by anyone with evidence to add, no matter how small or how tangential.

It should be noted that while the Williams Valley is the focus, neither people nor good sources so limit themselves and the valleys of the Allyn, Paterson and even the Hunter will be included in the scope of this history where appropriate or convenient.

The longer term vision is two fold. First, it is hoped that History in the Williams Valley will provide a model for similar local histories, enabling them to escape the stereotyping and ‘local equals unimportant’ thinking that often goes with the term ‘local history’. The second aim is to achieve a level of local research of such depth that it will enable the answering of historical questions both large and small of benefit far beyond the local.

Another aspect of this website is that its scope makes it a work in progress that is likely to be under construction for a very long time. It is not intended to hide this fact but rather to make use of it by creating pages that are hints, questions and guesses that indicate areas and paths of research. Some of this website will therefore occasionally take on the appearance of research notes. It is hoped that rather than confuse or disappoint, such an approach will enlighten those interested in how history gets written and in many cases unwritten and rewritten.