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.
Conclusion (Frédéric CLAVERT)
347 Conclusion Frédéric CLAVERT DH Lab, Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe The symposium on ‘Contemporary history in the digital age’ set it- self the goal of identifying those factors, new ones if possible, that would give contemporary historians a better understanding of such digital tools and methods as would be useful to them now and in the future, and help them find their place in a digital environment which is increasingly becoming a feature of their work but which often leaves them highly mistrustful, not to say downright hostile.1 Digital processes have already taken over a great swathe of our lives as researchers: for example, the whole scholarly publishing chain – apart from its end- product, an actual book or journal – is now systematically computerised. Magazines and journals are nowadays often available in digital form, and sometimes only in that form.2 This goal was succinctly expressed in a question included in the call for contributions: ‘Will the Web provide us with a better understanding of history?’ A simple, perhaps naive question, but one which, for the whole two days of the symposium, helped us draw out a number of major themes which, we hope, will attract the attention of those of our colleagues, historians or otherwise, who give thought to where their profession is heading in the digital era. The first issue to emerge from the symposium was the question of the anxieties about digital developments that historians share, whether they are in favour of the...
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