Content exploration of a digitized historical journal with digital and traditional research methods
What is it about?
After the digitization of all issues of the Dutch historical journal Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis from 1886 till 2008, this article explores the content of this digital collection by applying two easily accessible digital methods: keyword search and word frequencies. It makes clear that interest in the nineteenth century has increased over time, while the seventeenth century has gradually become a less popular period in the Low Countries’ historiography. Furthermore, the assumed post-WWII dominance of British and American historiography over German historiography cannot be confirmed unequivocally using these methods. The article also discusses to what extent traditional historical research may benefit from digital methods. The authors demonstrate the limitations of a ‘deductive analysis’ of a text corpus when using a set of keywords, as the translation of a concept into search terms is often arbitrary and incomplete. An ‘inductive analysis’ based on word frequency offers a more genuine and varied impression of a text corpus.
Why is it important?
The authors underline the importance of including digital methods in the regular toolkit of historians, and argue that working with digital tools challenges researchers and the way they conventionally handle their sources.
The following have contributed to this page: Kees Ribbens
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