Exploring Big Historical Data: The Historian's Macroscope

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9781783266081: Exploring Big Historical Data: The Historian's Macroscope
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The Digital Humanities have arrived at a moment when digital Big Data is becoming more readily available, opening exciting new avenues of inquiry but also new challenges. This pioneering book describes and demonstrates the ways these data can be explored to construct cultural heritage knowledge, for research and in teaching and learning. It helps humanities scholars to grasp Big Data in order to do their work, whether that means understanding the underlying algorithms at work in search engines, or designing and using their own tools to process large amounts of information.Demonstrating what digital tools have to offer and also what 'digital' does to how we understand the past, the authors introduce the many different tools and developing approaches in Big Data for historical and humanistic scholarship, show how to use them, what to be wary of, and discuss the kinds of questions and new perspectives this new macroscopic perspective opens up. Authored 'live' online with ongoing feedback from the wider digital history community, Exploring Big Historical Data breaks new ground and sets the direction for the conversation into the future. It represents the current state-of-the-art thinking in the field and exemplifies the way that digital work can enhance public engagement in the humanities.Exploring Big Historical Data should be the go-to resource for undergraduate and graduate students confronted by a vast corpus of data, and researchers encountering these methods for the first time. It will also offer a helping hand to the interested individual seeking to make sense of genealogical data or digitized newspapers, and even the local historical society who are trying to see the value in digitizing their holdings.

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"If you're wondering about the how and why of starting a Digital Humanities project, this text can answer most of your questions. I've found it both simple and easy to navigate, but also profound and thought-provoking for methodological questions outside Digital Humanities." -- Dr Daniel Franke, Historian at the US Military Academy at West Point

"Without a question, I would use this book in a digital history class, especially one in which I wanted to introduce network visualizations. It does an excellent job of defining and illustrating the insiders' language of digital humanities, making the volume accessible to students and to historians. The presentation of the basics of network analysis is among the clearest that I've seen in a digital humanities text." -- Professor Janice L Reiff, Core Faculty in Digital Humanities, UCLA

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