University of Luxembourg
September 20, 2016
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Doing Digital History: Introduction to Tools and Technology
Information Science PhD Candidate with Andreas Fickers Dutch or English
What is this 'Digital History' you speak of?
In this course: doing historical research using digital sources and tools
Digital sources: Digitized archives & digital-born material
How to preserve digital sources?
A complete historical record
What would be "everything"?
Does "everything" have to be preserved?
To think is to forget a difference, to generalize, to abstract.
The challenge, likewise, for digital archives is their inability to forget —or rather, their inability to forget creatively.Anderson, S. F. (2011). Technologies of history: Visual media and the eccentricity of the past. UPNE.
Even when we don't have everything, we get a lot
What do you do with a million books?Crane, G. (2006). What do you do with a million books? D-Lib Magazine, 12(3).
Or, what do you do with 31 million tweets?
Maybe printing isn't the solution...
The injunction of traditional historians to look at “everything” cannot survive in a digital era in which “everything” has survivedRosenzweig (2003)
So, we consider alternative approaches to the historical record
Unlike humans, computers can process a million books very fast
No hermeneutic interpretation, but potential uses for:
How can we discover the interesting bits?
For the microhistories/atomic history: which ones are of interest? And why?
For the macrohistories/astrophysical history: how to gain overview? How to summarize?
How can we present history in an interesting way using digital tools?
Such as "Snow Fall" in journalism?
"Snow Fall" of the NSA story
Are there methods beyond the narrative to tell a story?
Can we invite readers to interact with the story and sources and be engaged with our arguments?
In this course we will experiment with information visualisation for history
Answer different questions about a body of text
(Un)fortunately, such visualisations are not created automagically
For this, we need new practices:
We need to do all of this without falling for different biases:
This brings us to our current course...
No prerequirements :)
Students will learn how to use and critically examine digital tools for historical research.
Horizons in current practices of Digital History
All slides can be found on Moodle after the lecture All literature can be found on Moodle
Reading: (see Moodle)