I would be interested in exploring how the recent digitization of traditional archival sources can be used to help expand methodologies in multiple fields. Increasingly, organizations including national archives, the Internet Archive, Google, and more local groups, such as the Niagara Historical Society, are involved in this digitization process. Many documents previously confined to the physical archive are now more readily accessible to scholars, although there can be issues of intellectual property rights, particularly in relationship to Google’s involvement. How can this contribute to scholarship and what does it imply for methods in history and other fields. Does this increased digital accessibility allow scholars of the humanities and social sciences to find new directions and angles by using digital tools and methodologies (e.g. text mining and social network theory) and does it also encourage them to use sources from other fields? Can this lead to a blurring of the divide between the social sciences and the humanities in a way that the analysis and conclusions still stand up to the assumptions of knowledge and standards of the respective fields? This is of particular interest to me as my M.A. work on the commemoration of the War of 1812 deals with such questions. More broadly, it also has the potential to help multiple fields interrogate previously held conclusions from their disciplines.
This work by Peter W Holdsworth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.