The Running Reality site, also available as an app, is a model of the world and its history, as it has played out on the map from 3000 BC to today. This history includes national borders, territories, the locations of cities and famous battles, and more. It draws a variety of sources, including books, articles, and other digital sources to create its maps. One of the most interesting parts of the website is its interactive nature- users are free to add in their own individual family histories to contribute to the website’s baseline of reality and understanding of the world. Users are also encouraged to contribute “factoids” that establish facts or events in the website’s historical record backed up by citations.

This site stands out because it has sections for all the types of users it may have, including teachers, students, genealogists, archaeologists and more. Some lesson plans for teachers are available for purchase, but the website itself is still open-access and able to be integrated into classroom discussions or even homework assignments. For more professional users of the site, the map and the data displayed on it may serve as a way to visualize research. The drawback for this site is the breadth of information that it covers, making it confusing to know where to get started and how to find the exact information you are looking for. However, by casually perusing the site, it is possible to learn valuable and interesting information about world history, without having a specific research agenda. Overall, this site is great for teaching students about geographical analysis and how historical events affect the physical environment and territories of people and groups.

Reviewed by Carolyn Mason, George Mason University
How to Cite This Source
Carolyn Mason, Running Reality in World History Commons,