6 – Digital Research Platforms: Merging sources and analysis

Digital Research Platforms go one step further than the archives we discussed in the previous session. They make primary sources available but also provide computational tools for their exploration and aggregation: Ranging from annotations to network visualisations they want to offer their users innovative ways to do their research beyond project-specific questions. Does this work? And can tools become arguments, as some scholars claim? How have advances in technology changed Digital Research Platforms?


Group 1

Group 2


Questions to consider

What does the platform (claim to) do? Which sources are used?
Who are the target audiences?
How transparent is the tool for non-technical users?
How can they trust the output and put their scholarly reputation on the line?
How does the platform unite primary sources and analysis?
How flexible are users to work with primary sources?
Which tools does it use (e.g. networks, timelines, maps)?
How could this become part of a digital/traditional piece of historical research?
How could one cite data obtained from the platform?
How could this become part of a digital/traditional piece of history teaching?
Does it allow users cross-reference output with other tools/sources?
(How) has the platform been used outside the DH community (publications teaching)?


Other interesting platforms


Tools of the day (Patrick)

  • What is Linked data?

1 thought on “6 – Digital Research Platforms: Merging sources and analysis

  1. How do digital projects such as these compare to text-based historical works in terms of their transparency? That is, even with digital texts, it is fairly easy to see what source material is being used and where is comes from. Because many sources are not part of the public domain or rest in archives that prohibit duplication, how might a project that relies on material that falls under such circumstances attempt to be readily transparent with their sources?

    Is it simply enough to provide the metadata harvested from sources, or should we attempt to make full-text primary sources available?

    If it possible to reproduce primary sources online, how do researchers determine which sources to put up online? Given the tedium of transcribing sources that are potentially unable to be OCR-ed, how might a limited selection of reproductions act to skew evidence for other students and scholars using these sources?

    For a digital history project to be seen as valuable, should it contain a pedagogical element?

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