18.168 historical development of tools

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 07:35:13 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 168.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                   www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/
                        www.princeton.edu/humanist/
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 07:23:07 +0100
         From: J
Driscoll
<JRDRISCO_at_DAL.CA>
         Subject: Re: 18.163 historical development of tools

> > Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 07:44:33 +0100
> > From: ˜yvind Eide <oyvind.eide_at_muspro.uio.no>
> >
> > I am also interested in discussions on reasons why historians are less
> > interested in using such tools than other researchers.

One interesting case study here would be the case of the Historians of
Science who did adopt the use of various tools from the computer
information science area. Specifically I am refering to Eugene Garfield
and others who left the study of history to start the Institute for
Scientific Information and made a very successful business studying
compemporary science.

In part this mirrors my own experience. Last year I presented a paper at
the Canadian Anual Symposium on Text analysis illustrating the use of Text
analysis in the study of history, and specifically the correspondence of
Charles Darwin, but have since started my own small text analysis company
instead of pursuing further studies in history. So I would suggest that the
historians who do take a keen interest in tools will likely move away from
the study of history for financial reasons. Another reason just from
personal observation is that a lot of historians avoid statistics and
numbers partially because it is generally not part of the training. Finally
I have the impression that where a 'hard sciences' lab would go out and get
big governemnt grants to get the best softare and equipment possible. By
contrast, in the humanities funding restraints mean the tools within the
budget are not userfriendly enough for most historians.

Highest Regards,

Jonathon Driscoll

iVigil Research
Ottawa, Canada
Received on Thu Aug 26 2004 - 02:52:09 EDT

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