July 25, 2006

Advancement in History Research Methodology

While writing a post titled "Working in the Browser" on optimizing the search activity for pursuing an answer to a question or a research work, William J. Turkel made the following remarks.

"Working with digital sources means that historians will spend more time working with computers. Most already use e-mail and word processing, search library catalogs and archival finding aids, read online journal articles and book reviews. Digital history puts primary and secondary sources onto the computer, too, and provides new opportunities for historical research and writing: blogging, digitization, web and wiki authoring, programming, and so on."

In the above quoted statement, the author has explained in a brief and an effective manner the change in the research methodology of history owing to advancement in the technology.

I have extracted it here because it tries to answer different questions which generally appears in the NET examination of India wherein it is asked that what are the new changes seen in the field of research methodology. Or, the question can be that how can ICT and computer be useful in research in history.

Turkel works in a realm of knowledge, skill and understanding which is presently beyond my capability, knowledge and skills, but I have also tried something in my article titled "Quasi Mutiny of 1824 by 47 Native Infantry at Barrackpore" . I have yet to complete the writing on this topic but I have used different digital resources already available online along with in-print secondary sources. No doubt, therein, I have done everything manually and there is less of software based activity and syndication as it is being done with coming of new tools now and then or rather every next second. The topic of quasi Mutiny was identified and located through online sources. The question was already with me but I did not have a starting point to explore my question. The question is that what is the real nature of historiography on Indian Nationalism. I had been commenting and criticizing which amounted to nothing much. In the topic which I have pursued there, I have used the digital sources, made right links to the primary and secondary sources and within the article used tags to present it as an article of research as it is presented in the field of history. The activity is not of the level which Turkel has achieved by establishing his own server and then optimizing the server itself as the storehouse of the primary and secondary sources using different computation devices that I have already admitted that I am incapable of understanding and less capable of practicing for the time being. But it is also a paradigm which lesser people like me can practice. No doubt, it is not all that original idea. There are similar paradigm found in Guttenburg ebooks. I have just tried to bring it out in open as to me it seems that it is also a good way of developing an archive. One topic is taken. The sources on online are located. The thesis is presented. All the references are given link to their source where they are needed. Continue to do it till that article reaches a saturation point. Ultimately, you will have a topic wherein you will find all the authentic and authoritative references at one place.

Well, I will be interested in the comments now.

Credit and Acknowledgement :
William J. Turkel at Digital History Hacks

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