“…archival theory and practice need to be an integral element of such a critical framework, along with evolving historiographical and professional practices. The digital medium has challenged historians to expand their knowledge about archives, and understand their function in generating scholarship and knowledge.”
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The following pieces by Joshua Sternfeld, Katharina Hering, Kate Theimer, and Michael Kramer are based on our session at the American Historical Association (AHA) meeting in 2014, “Digital Historiography and the Archives,” and the series of blog posts based on our presentations that we posted on Michael Kramer’s blog, Issues in Digital History, and cross-posted on AHA Today.
The following remarks were delivered at the AHA Roundtable Session #83 Digital Historiography and Archives. They have been slightly modified and annotated for the Journal of Digital Humanities. Please note that the concepts presented here are a work-in-progress of a much larger project about digital historiography; I welcome additional comments or feedback.
In the original presentation of these papers at the AHA session, I was the final speaker on the panel, and so my talk was framed as a response to and expansion of the points made by the previous speakers.
I once joked to an archivist that all I really do as a historian is add meta-metadata to the archival database.
What I meant was that if we understand metadata—the information that accompanies artifacts—as not merely descriptive, but also already on its way to interpretation, then what is historical scholarship but a further extension of this elaboration of the evidentiary record?