Sinn & Soares (2014) Historians' Use of Digital Archival Collections

Abstract

This article reports a research study about historians' experiences using digital archival collections for research articles that they published in the American Historical Review. We contacted these authors to ask about their research processes, with regard to digital archival collections, and their perceptions of the useful- ness of digital archival collections to historical research. This study presents a realistic portrayal of the “uses” and “impacts” of digital primary sources from the per- spectives of historians who use digital collections for their research projects. The findings from this study indicate that digital archival collections are important source materials for historical studies for various reasons. However, the amount of authority digital mate- rials possess as historical resources was disputed. Many historians preferred documents in their original form, but historians' preferences began to change as they increasingly consulted digital formats. As the web has developed into an important research platform, his- torians have adopted different research patterns, one of which is using random web searches to find digital primary sources. Historians' understandings of the “use” of digital archival collections revealed a spectrum of activities including finding, understanding, interpreting, and citing digital information. Historians in this study worked concurrently on multiple studies or on a larger project for a book, and each of their searches for digital collections had the potential to provide them with useful results for several research studies.

Citation Sinn, D., Soares, N. (2014). Historians' Use of Digital Archival Collections: The Web, Historical Scholarship, and Archival Research. Journal of the Association for Information Science and technology, 65(9), 1794–1809. URL

BibTex entry for this article:

BibTex entry for this article:

@article{sinn2014historians,
archivePrefix = {arXiv},
arxivId = {0803.1716},
author = {Sinn, Donghee and Soares, Nicholas},
doi = {10.1002/asi},
eprint = {0803.1716},
isbn = {9783848215430},
issn = {14923831},
journal = {Journal of the Association for Information Science and technology},
number = {9},
pages = {1794--1809},
pmid = {502955140},
title = {{Historians' Use of Digital Archival Collections: The Web, Historical Scholarship, and Archival Research}},
volume = {65},
year = {2014}
}

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