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Six Claims for Digital History

Some three months ago, in the context of the conference «Digitale Medien und Infrastrukturen für die Geschichtswissenschaften [1]», that took place from 11 to 12 September, 2009 in Berne, we published six «Thesen zur digitalen Geschichtswissenschaft [2]». Due to some requests from our english speaking readers, we decided to have those claims translated and to post them to our weblog.


Information Literacy
Digital historians must find their bearings both in analog and in digital information spaces. Not only must they know the advantages and disadvantages of different information systems, but they must also know which information is accessible on which terms and conditions.

Source Criticism
Drawing upon Droysen’s and Bernheim’s classical source criticism and in close collaboration with other disciplines, digital history will have to develop a critical approach to digital sources.

Visualization ?
While digital history is also primarily a textual science, it uses the multimedia capabilities of digital media and deals with how one visualizes historical contexts.

Collaboration ?
Digital historians will no longer conduct research exclusively as isolated individuals who publish their findings as single authors, but instead collaborative teamwork using digital network technologies will gain increasing importance.

The Culture of Publication
In the digital era, the printed, single-author monograph will for the time being remain the “reserve currency” of historical scholarship. However, new cultures of publication that endorse the principles of open access and open peer review will emerge alongside this currency.

Now that historical scholarship has finally arrived in the digital age, emphasis should be placed no longer on developing research skills and individual tools, but rather on the integration of the entire historiographical work process into digital environments (“h-desk” and “e-history”).

Download as PDF in english [3] or german [4].