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The status quo of digital humanities in Sweden: past, present and future of digital history
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Humlab. Department of Education, Uppsala University and Department of History, Stanford University. (History and Education)
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Humlab. (Umeå Group for Premodern Studies, Multiple Screens as Material)
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2014 (English)In: H-Soz-Kult, ISSN 2196-5307Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

A current Swedish review of digital history claims that research in digital history in Sweden is almost absent.[1] This statement must naturally be considered in the light of how the field is defined, and in this article we choose a broad definition consisting of the aggregate domain of studies in which digital material and tools are used to study the past. Digital history is without a doubt a more active field in English-speaking academic settings, but there are a number of well-established projects and initiatives in Sweden. The case studies presented in this article are cross-disciplinary and might therefore not define themselves as strictly (or solely) digital history. This may, however, be irrelevant in the post-disciplinary context.

The digitization of historical source material has increasingly compelled Swedish historians to navigate in digital environments. This increased accessibility and the capacity for digitally processing historical material hold great potential for empowering research. While on the one hand, considerable growth can be expected in the coming years as technology becomes more accessible, user-friendly and domain science orientated [2], on the other hand, the expansion of digital archives and the development of digital tools are already posing new challenges for historians. Knowledge and understanding of digital media needs to be augmented considerably in order to fully take advantage of contemporary research opportunities and challenges. This essay will discuss how the creation of data and the use of new digital tools might support a variety of types of historical research, primarily by looking at developments in digital humanities (hereon DH) and digital archaeology. The variegated realm of DH practices, with their background in humanities computing and computing linguistics, will be used as a point of departure. Internationally, DH often uses the concept of labs to describe environments designed for the use of data and tools in interdisciplinary research.[3] Centres of DH have primarily been created in the USA and, more recently, in Europe.

While on-going research in multiple fields, using digital data and tools, is contributing important new knowledge and developing infrastructures which are advancing the study of history; there is, of course, considerable room for improvement, both in terms of the efficiency of the tools and the scope of their application. This article will present two Swedish examples of interdisciplinary and collaborative lab spaces which are currently involved in research on the past. The more disciplinary practices of digital archaeology and digital history will also be examined in order to flag out current historically orientated research which may fall under the umbrella of DH. The essay will conclude by discussing some potential future directions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2014.
Keyword [en]
Digital Humanities, Digital History, Visualizations, Databases, GIS
National Category
Humanities History and Archaeology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88730OAI: diva2:716976
Screens as MaterialHistory Education

Published 2014-10-23

Available from: 2014-05-13 Created: 2014-05-13 Last updated: 2015-11-02Bibliographically approved

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Nygren, ThomasFoka, AnnaBuckland, Phillip I.
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