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See detailUncovering the Forgotten Roots of Digital History: the Association for History and Computing
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Presentation (2023, April 14)

In recent years, scholars have started to investigate the diverse genealogies of the digital humanities, as part of efforts to consolidate the field by excavating its historical and intellectual ... [more ▼]

In recent years, scholars have started to investigate the diverse genealogies of the digital humanities, as part of efforts to consolidate the field by excavating its historical and intellectual underpinnings. This paper discusses the history of what we now call digital history, by focusing on its direct predecessor: the history and computing movement. It argues that understanding the current era of digital history is impossible without knowledge of the transnational history & computing movement out of which it emerged. The paper will first offer a conceptual framework for the nexus between technology and historical research practices and provide a brief outline of the uptake of computing in historical research in the post-WWII period, which was rooted in a broader context of engagement with reproduction and data processing technology that began in the late 19th century. From the 1940s onwards, historians begin to use analog and later digital computing, efforts that truly gained momentum from the early 1960s onwards in the United States, Western Europe and the Eastern bloc led by the Soviet Union, against the backdrop of the Cold War and a general surge in the use of computing in various humanities disciplines. By the late 1960s we begin to see the establishment of networks and structures to support what could be called an emerging transnational field of computing historians. A transition to a new phase began when first micro- and then personal computing were introduced at universities in the early 1980s and a new user generation of computing historians emerged. As had happened almost two decades earlier, a transnational network would develop, but this time formalised in the Association for History and Computing (AHC) which existed until the early 2000s. The AHC’s history, activities, and many publications highlight the transnational outlook and intellectual breadth of the history and computing period and can served to probe the transition to and (dis)continuities with our current era of digital history. As I will argue, the history and computing movement did not simply give rise to digital history around the turn of the millennium. Despite the continued involvement of some older practitioners, many of the new digital historians were, as before, of a different user generation and the transition to digital history was thus much more than discursive. [less ▲]

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See detailJewish Studies in the Digital Age
Zaagsma, Gerben UL; Stökl Ben Ezra, Daniel; Rürup, Miriam et al

Book published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg (2022)

As in all fields and disciplines of the humanities, Jewish Studies scholars find themselves confronted with the rapidly increasing availability of digital resources (data), new technologies to interrogate ... [more ▼]

As in all fields and disciplines of the humanities, Jewish Studies scholars find themselves confronted with the rapidly increasing availability of digital resources (data), new technologies to interrogate and analyze them (tools), and the question of how to critically engage with these developments. This volume discusses how the digital turn has affected the field of Jewish Studies. It explores the current state of the art and probes how digital developments can be harnessed to address the specific questions, challenges and problems that Jewish Studies scholars confront. In a field characterised by dispersed sources, and heterogeneous scripts and languages that speak to a multitude of cultures and histories, of abundance as well as loss, what is the promise of Digital Humanities methods--and what are the challenges and pitfalls? The articles in this volume were originally presented at the international conference #DHJewish - Jewish Studies in the Digital Age, which was organised at the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) at University of Luxembourg in January 2021. The first big international conference of its kind, it brought together more than sixty scholars and heritage practitioners to discuss how the digital turn affects the field of Jewish Studies. [less ▲]

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See detailJewish Studies in the Digital Age: Introduction
Zaagsma, Gerben UL; Stökl Ben Ezra, Daniel; Rürup, Miriam et al

in Levi, Amalia S.; Zaagsma, Gerben; Stökl Ben Ezra, Daniel (Eds.) et al Jewish Studies in the Digital Age (2022)

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See detailDigital History and the Politics of Digitization
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (2022)

Much has been made in recent years of the transformative potential of digital resources and historical data for historical research. Historians seem to be flooded with retro-digitized and born-digital ... [more ▼]

Much has been made in recent years of the transformative potential of digital resources and historical data for historical research. Historians seem to be flooded with retro-digitized and born-digital materials and tend to take these for granted, grateful for the opportunities they afford. In a research environment that increasingly privileges what is available online, the questions of why, where, and how we can access what we can access, and how it affects historical research have become ever more urgent. This article proposes a framework through which to contextualize the politics of (digital) heritage preservation, and a model to analyze its most important political dimensions, drawing upon literature from the digital humanities & history as well as archival, library and information science. The first part will outline the global dimensions of the politics of digital cultural heritage, focusing on developments between and within the Global North and South, framed within the broader context of the politics of heritage and its preservation. The second part surveys the history and current state of digitization and offers a structured analysis of the process of digitization and its political dimensions. Choices and decisions about selection for digitization, how to catalogue, classify and what metadata to add are all political in nature and have political consequences, and the same is true for access. The article concludes with several recommendations and a plea to acknowledge the importance of digital cataloguing in enabling access to the global human record. [less ▲]

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See detailJewish History and the Politics of Digitisation
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Scientific Conference (2022, July 13)

This paper discusses the politics of Jewish Studies by focusing on the digitisation of Jewish cultural heritage and its effects for research into Jewish history(ies). In the past few years we have ... [more ▼]

This paper discusses the politics of Jewish Studies by focusing on the digitisation of Jewish cultural heritage and its effects for research into Jewish history(ies). In the past few years we have witnessed the emergence of what could be termed the critical turn in digital humanities with an increasing focus on how digital resources shape various parts of the research process and its outcomes. One aspect of that turn is more attention to digital source criticism and the politics of digitisation of cultural heritage. There are many aspects of digitisation that can be considered “political”, from selection for digitisation to modes of access to broader questions about the political aspects of infrastructure or ‘infrapolitics’. None of these is specific to our digital age nor to Jewish Studies, and historical context is crucially important.  This paper builds upon my recent reseach into the politics of digitisation and considers the case of Jewish Studies, framed within the broader context of the politics of heritage and its preservation. It set outs a number of broad parameters for discussion, with the aim to encourage further debate. Questions to be addressed include: what Jewish heritage is being digitised and which stories about the Jewish past can (and cannot) be told on its basis? Which players are involved in digitisation and how do both top-down national strategies and bottom-up community initiatives guide the process? How do memory politics influence selection processes? And how does transnational heritage fare in an age where many digitisation programs are nationally framed and funded? The paper will use the historical example of the digitisation of Yiddish heritage to illustrate these questions and provide a concrete example.  [less ▲]

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See detailReview Fighters Across Frontiers - Transnational Resistance in Europe, 1936-48
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

in Francia-Recensio (2022), 2022(2),

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See detail#DHJewish - Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Computer development (2022)

The website #DHJewish - Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities offers a single access point to news, events, projects + more on the intersection of Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities.

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See detailJewish History and the Politics of Digitisation
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Scientific Conference (2022, June 17)

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See detailExploring the History of Digital History: Setting an Agenda
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Scientific Conference (2022, June 02)

See attached.

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See detailContent Management
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

in Zaagsma, Gerben; Noiret, Serge; Tebeau, Mark (Eds.) Handbook of Digital Public History (2022)

The use of content management systems (CMSes) in public history is a relatively new phenomenon that has greatly enhanced the possibilities of presenting, curating and narrating history online. As CMSes ... [more ▼]

The use of content management systems (CMSes) in public history is a relatively new phenomenon that has greatly enhanced the possibilities of presenting, curating and narrating history online. As CMSes have become increasingly powerful and easier to use, they obviate the need for comparatively costlier custom solutions, both in terms of time and financial investment. Archives, libraries, museums, institutions, scholars and educators are making use of CMSes to showcase collections, accompany exhibitions, tell histories online and to build online communities and networks. This chapter discusses how content management systems support these activities and projects while also delving into more technical aspects. In doing so the chapter focuses on open source systems which can be used by any scholar without incurring licensing fees, and are often supported by large user communities. [less ▲]

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See detailIntroduction: Handbook of Digital Public History
Noiret, Serge; Tebeau, Mark; Zaagsma, Gerben UL

in Noiret, Serge; Tebeau, Mark; Zaagsma, Gerben (Eds.) Handbook of Digital Public History (2022)

This handbook provides a systematic overview of the present state of international research in digital public history (DPH). Detailed individual studies by internationally renowned public historians ... [more ▼]

This handbook provides a systematic overview of the present state of international research in digital public history (DPH). Detailed individual studies by internationally renowned public historians, digital humanists and digital historians elucidate central issues in the field and present a critical account of the major public history accomplishments, research activities, practices with the public and of their digital context. The handbook applies an international and comparative public history approach, looks at its historical development, focuses on technical background and on the use of specific digital media, software’s and digital tools. It offers a bibliography adapted to each chapter. The Handbook analyses connections with local communities and different publics worldwide when engaging in digital activities with the past, and indicate directions for future research, practices and teaching activities. Its aim is to delimit the field as it is situated between digital humanities, digital history and public history. [less ▲]

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See detailHandbook of Digital Public History
Noiret, Serge; Tebeau, Mark; Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Book published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg (2022)

This handbook provides a systematic overview of the present state of international research in digital public history. Individual studies by internationally renowned public historians, digital humanists ... [more ▼]

This handbook provides a systematic overview of the present state of international research in digital public history. Individual studies by internationally renowned public historians, digital humanists, and digital historians elucidate central issues in the field and present a critical account of the major public history accomplishments, research activities, and practices with the public and of their digital context. The handbook applies an international and comparative approach, looks at the historical development of the field, focuses on technical background and the use of specific digital media and tools. Furthermore, the handbook analyzes connections with local communities and different publics worldwide when engaging in digital activities with the past, indicating directions for future research, and teaching activities. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Digital Archive and the Politics of Digitisation
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Scientific Conference (2022, March 10)

In this paper I will discuss key parameters of the politics of digitisation within a broader historical and global context with the aim to encourage further debate on its implications for historical ... [more ▼]

In this paper I will discuss key parameters of the politics of digitisation within a broader historical and global context with the aim to encourage further debate on its implications for historical research. In the first part, I will outline the global dimensions of the politics of digital cultural heritage with a particular focus on developments within and between Europe and Africa, framed within the broader context of the politics of heritage and its preservation and recent debates about ‘postcolonial digital humanities’. In the second part, I will discuss the history and current state of digitisation in Europe and Africa. Here I will partly draw upon the web archive of the IFLA/Unesco Directory of Digitised Library Collections (2002-2006) and recent global and European digitisation surveys. The paper will conclude by highlighting the paradoxical situation we currently face with regard to digitisation and the state of ‘memory’ in both the global North and South. [less ▲]

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See detailIntroduction to Digital History
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Presentation (2021, November 03)

Introduction to digital history for C²DH internal training program, focusing on the history of digital history and the ways in which digitised and digital heritage affects historical research (politics of ... [more ▼]

Introduction to digital history for C²DH internal training program, focusing on the history of digital history and the ways in which digitised and digital heritage affects historical research (politics of digitisation). [less ▲]

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See detailKeynote lecture: Exploring Jewish History in the Digital Age
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Scientific Conference (2021, October 04)

This lecture will explore the intersection of Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities in general, and the myriad ways in which new technologies affect the field of Jewish History in particular. Importantly ... [more ▼]

This lecture will explore the intersection of Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities in general, and the myriad ways in which new technologies affect the field of Jewish History in particular. Importantly, the digital turn in Jewish Studies needs to be historicised; as is the case for the humanities in general, applications of computing in Jewish Studies go back at least 60 years. And as is true for the humanities in general, we should be careful to differentiate engagements with technology in the various (sub-)disciplines that Jewish Studies incorporates, while remaining attentive to common methodological and epistemological questions. In my lecture I will address these broader issues and ask what specific characteristics, if any, Jewish Studies scholars face, before delving into the specific challenges for Jewish historical research. I will then discuss how digital approaches have been, are, and could be harnassed to address these. As digitisation opens up new avenues for research, and can help overcome the classic problem of dispersal of sources, a crucial question to ask is what (Jewish) heritage is being digitised and which stories about the (Jewish) past can (and cannot) be told using them. What are the politics of digitisation in the context of Jewish history and how can we ensure that the offline Jewish historical record remains as relevant as its online counterpart in an age where more and more scholars move to using online resources? In short, how does the digital turn affect Jewish historical research and how can we bring about the full potential of the digital turn for research into Jewish history? [less ▲]

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See detailExploring the History of Digital History
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Scientific Conference (2021, September 20)

As long as new preservation technologies and computing machines have been developed, the question of their utility and uptake in historical research practices has been debated. Yet, the very fact that ... [more ▼]

As long as new preservation technologies and computing machines have been developed, the question of their utility and uptake in historical research practices has been debated. Yet, the very fact that historical knowledge production has always been affected by new and emerging technologies is often forgotten. Similarly, the fact that key epistemological and methodological questions in what we now call ‘digital history’ were already debated decades ago by earlier generations of computing historians (analog and digital) is often overlooked. There is a lack of transmission of accumulated knowledge from the past and it sometimes seems as if every new generation of historians rediscovers the promise of ‘digital history’, with all of its attending hopes, visions and ambitions for reinventing and reshaping historical research. To fill this gap, this paper will explore what a history of digital history might look like. It will do so by focusing on hybridity as a key characteristic of historical research. Hybridity, seen as some form of integrating newly emerging tools, technologies, materials, and/or practices in historical research, has a long history that predates the advent of computers. In my paper I will map and qualify that history according to the main phases of historical research. The paper will conclude by outlining what groundwork is necessary to explore digital history’s forgotten roots: a basic overview of the field’s different spatio-temporal and ideological trajectories and recreation of the networks of computing historians in the pre-PC and early PC period. [less ▲]

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See detailReview of Adam Crymble: Technology and the Historian. Transformations in the Digital Age
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

in H-Soz-Kult: Kommunikation und Fachinformation für die Geschichtswissenschaften (2021)

Detailed reference viewed: 103 (3 UL)
See detailExploring the History of Digital History
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Presentation (2021, May 25)

For as long as new preservation technologies and computing machines have been developed, the question of their utility and uptake in historical research practices has been debated. Yet, the very fact that ... [more ▼]

For as long as new preservation technologies and computing machines have been developed, the question of their utility and uptake in historical research practices has been debated. Yet, the very fact that historical knowledge production has always been affected by new and emerging technologies is often forgotten. Similarly, the fact that key epistemological and methodological questions in what we now call ‘digital history’ were already debated decades ago by earlier generations of computing historians (analogue and digital) is often overlooked. There is a lack of transmission of accumulated knowledge from the past and it sometimes seems as if every new generation of historians rediscovers the promise of ‘digital history’, with all of its attending hopes, visions and ambitions for reinventing and reshaping historical research. In order to ground our current ‘digital’ practices and learn from past experiences and expertise, we need to contextualise and qualify what is new and what is not. In other words, we need an answer to the question: what were, and are, the continuities and ruptures in the use and uptake of new technologies in historical research, and in the debates that accompanied them? This paper is an attempt to frame what such a history of digital history might look like. It will do so by focusing on hybridity as a key characteristic of historical research. Hybridity, seen as some form of integrating newly emerging tools, technologies, materials, and/or practices in historical research, has a long history that predates the advent of computers. In my paper I will map and qualify that history according to the main phases of historical research: data & information gathering, processing, analysis and dissemination. Importantly, the speed, enthusiasm and rate of the uptake of new technologies in historical research differs and has differed significantly across these phases, in space as well as time. The paper will conclude by outlining what groundwork is necessary to explore digital history’s forgotten roots: a basic overview of the field’s different spatio-temporal trajectories and the networks of computing historians in the pre-PC and early PC period. [less ▲]

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See detailDigital Cultural Heritage and the Politics of Digitisation
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Scientific Conference (2021, May 11)

This talk deals with a question that is becoming increasingly important for historians who work with digitised cultural heritage: what are the politics of digitisation and what are its implications for ... [more ▼]

This talk deals with a question that is becoming increasingly important for historians who work with digitised cultural heritage: what are the politics of digitisation and what are its implications for historical research? Is the often-lauded democratising potential of digitisation also offset by challenges, inherent in selection processes that might privilege the digitisation of heritage corresponding to existing national master narratives, the availability of funding and/or the priorities set by cultural policies and certain research agendas? How does transnational heritage fit into this picture when most digitisation projects are, in one way or another, nationally framed? What biases can digital archives introduce in our work and how does that differ from issues of bias and selection in the ‘paper’ archive? A key point to highlight is that professional historians can and should be more open to learn from the experience of digital archivists and librarians who are at the forefront of the digital turn in heritage wsk. the talk will conclude with a brief plea and suggestion for transparancy guidelines for digital resources. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Digital Archive and the Politics of Digitisation
Zaagsma, Gerben UL

Presentation (2021, April 28)

This talk deals with a question that is becoming increasingly important for historians who work with digitised cultural heritage: what are the politics of digitisation and what are its implications for ... [more ▼]

This talk deals with a question that is becoming increasingly important for historians who work with digitised cultural heritage: what are the politics of digitisation and what are its implications for historical research? Is the often-lauded democratising potential of digitisation also offset by risks, inherent in selection processes that might privilege the digitisation of heritage corresponding to existing national master narratives, the availability of funding and/or the priorities set by cultural policies and certain research agendas? How does transnational heritage fit into this picture when most digitisation projects are, in one way or another, nationally framed? What biases can digital archives introduce in our work and how does that differ from issues of bias and selection in the ‘paper’ archive? In discussing these questions, I will provide a couple of examples before emphasising the importance of more transparency in this regard and the need for guidelines about how digital archives are constituted. A key point to highlight is that professional historians can and should be more open to learn from the experience of digital archivists and librarians who are at the forefront of the digital turn in heritage work. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 68 (0 UL)