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Technology and the HistorianTransformations in the Digital Age$
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Adam Crymble

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043710

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043710.001.0001

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The Origin Myths of Computing in Historical Research

The Origin Myths of Computing in Historical Research

(p.17) 1 The Origin Myths of Computing in Historical Research
Technology and the Historian

Adam Crymble

University of Illinois Press

This chapter outlines the multiple origin myths of “digital” historical research, arguing that social science inspired cliometricians and linguistically inclined humanities computing scholars working on textual collections were both using computers from the mid-twentieth century, but with very different intellectual agendas and only occasionally crossing paths. With the rise of mass digitization in the 1990s, both groups inspired a new generation of “digital” historians who worked to unlock the potential of the newly digitized archives. Wrestling with practical and intellectual challenges ranging from poor-quality transcription to dealing with incomplete data, this group generated new knowledge and answered new questions such as “what do you do with a million books?” but were not necessarily contributing directly to the existing conversations of the historiography

Keywords:   historical research, historical method, cliometrics, social science history, humanities computing, historiography, digital history

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