Digital practices in the field of history have become more and more widespread in recent decades, but contemporary historians have often tended to remain on the sidelines of this trend. This book, which covers a wide range of digital practices, tools and methods, will serve both as a solid grounding for historians keen to learn how information technology can be applied to contemporary history, and as a useful tool for researchers and lecturers who already have a degree of experience in this area. It will enable scholars to compare and further their practices in the area of digital humanities, providing a comprehensive vision of the emerging field of digital history.
INTRODUCTION: Digital Humanities and History. A New Field for Historians in the Digital Age (Serge NOIRET & Frédéric CLAVERT)
15 INTRODUCTION Digital Humanities and History A New Field for Historians in the Digital Age Serge NOIRET History Information Specialist, Library of the European University Institute Frédéric CLAVERT DH Lab Coordinator, Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l’Europe This book is a compilation of the contributions to the symposium on ‘Contemporary history in the digital age’ held in Luxembourg on 15 and 16 October 2009. Two institutions worked together to set up the event: the Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l’Europe and the Master’s in Contemporary European History of the University of Luxembourg. As Marianne Backes and René Leboutte explain in their preface, each of these institutions – the CVCE as a result of its core mission and the Master’s programme via a study of the practices of students, teachers and researchers – has discovered how widespread the use of digital resources and, more specifically, digital humanities has now become in contemporary history. Until now, contemporary history has tended to remain somewhat on the sidelines with regard to the use of digital resources. Historians of the contemporary are actually in a comfortable position: they have enough archives to work from, but without the mass of documents becoming more than they can work through alone or in a team, provided the topic of research is properly defined and identified and the historian is capable of drawing up a strategy for selecting from these archives. This situation, however, is likely to change for historians of the con- temporary and to set...
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