Digital history

As a historian who can very easily be mistaken for a philologist, I have recently been pondering the question of what technology can do for the field of history.  Digital tools have proven themselves in quite a few surrounding fields – archaeology, philology, text criticism and analysis.  But can we also use computers to help us put all this disparate data together?  Can we use computers to help us keep track of historical reasoning?  Are there any useful formal models that could be made for historical research?

If so, how do we do it?  If not, must history itself be excluded from the ‘digital humanities’?

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4 Responses to “Digital history”

  1. avatar Richard Light says:

    I think one possible strategy is to use the Linked Data approach to publish, and thereby disseminte, historical data. For example, one project I have been involved with will be transcribing registers of births etc. as a TEI resource. We intend to encode each registered event so that it could be expressed as Linked Data RDF or a Topic Map fragment. These records are interesting at the micro level, as evidence of the history of individuals, and at the macro level as the raw data for population studies.

    It might be worth seeing to what extent you can extract useful historical assertions from the sources offered to THATCamp. (Sorry I can’t be there, BTW.)

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