Historical informatics - rubric Methodological problems of historical informatics
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MAIN PAGE > Journal "Historical informatics" > Rubric "Methodological problems of historical informatics"
Methodological problems of historical informatics
Zhakisheva S.A. - A Beautiful Mind or Proof of Life: Historical Information Science and/or Digital History? pp. 1-19


Abstract: The article studies integration processes which have been characteristic of humanities in the second half of the twentieth century, the changing configuration of interdisciplinary fields and the redistribution of the interdisciplinary hierarchy of science domains as well as the role of historical information science in a strong or a weak integration type of scientific knowledge. Historical information science is a classical example of interdisciplinary interaction (match) of several fields (history, source studies, applied mathematics, mathematical statistics and information science). This supradisciplinary form of integration connects history with mathematization and informatization as well as principles and methods of the general theory of systems, the information theory, synergetics, etc. In this respect, the article focuses on the impact of the digital turn on the relationship between historical information science, digital history and digital humanities as well as methodological problems of information source studies rather than digital documents studies. The author states that new prospects provided by the “digital revolution” set new goals for history in the 21st century.
Yumasheva J.Y. - Prosopography: on the question of periodization of the application of the method in historical research pp. 1-51


Abstract: The subject of this article is the history of the development and application of prosopography in historical research. The author proposes a periodization of the history of prosopography - a research method and an interdisciplinary direction of research (an auxiliary applied discipline). Particular attention is paid to the criteria for identifying the periods of development of prosopography and the history of the emergence of analytical (quantitative) prosopography, its source database, research methods and features of research. The source of useful materials is an extensive complex of materials collected by the author over the past 30 years. More than 5,000 publications on prosopographic studies carried out by foreign and russian historians in the period from the infection of the 19th century until now have been collected. The main research methods used by the author in this work are the historical-comparative and historical-chronological methods, the method of analyzing historiographic sources used at different times to create and analyze information from prosopographic databases; the results of their processing, including the interpretation of income in the past development, as well as the presentation of prosopographic projects on the Internet and the use of modern information technologies. The scientific novelty of the study is carried out in the original classical periodization of prosopographic studies, combining foreign and domestic historiography of prosopography and studying it as the only premise.
Karagodin A.V. - Databases of visual sources in the Internet: problems of heuristics (based on the example of studying the history of the Southern coast of Crimea in the early XX century) pp. 1-17



Abstract: The article analyzes the experience gained by the author in the course of working with three online databases of visual historical sources in the context of studying the transformation of the Southern Coast of Crimea in the late XIX - early XX centuries. They are: the electronic State Catalog of the Museum Fund of the Russian Federation, as well as two crowdsourcing platforms - Pastview and Retromap.ru . The author examines the origin, format, structure of these aggregators of visual historical sources, the information potential of the content, advantages and disadvantages of usage, examples of how visual information found using these databases contributed to solving specific historical and source problems. Different aspects of working with online databases of visual sources are considered in the context of historiographical discussions about the "digital turn" in humanitarian knowledge, the "visual turn" in the structure of the source base of historical research, disputes about the multimodality of the content of historical knowledge. It is suggested that soon online databases of visual sources will become as familiar an information search tool for a historian as electronic catalogues of libraries and archives. The emphasis is placed on the methodology of a systematic approach, methods of complex source studies that allow reconstructing historical reality by analyzing and comparing information extracted from sources of different types (written, pictorial and material) and types.
Kabaev D.A., Chernyaeva L.L., Chernov S.Z., Goncharova N.N., Semenov A.S. - Archaeological DNA Data from the XII-XIV Centuries from Ancient Klyazma Settlements pp. 1-9



Abstract: PaleoDNA testing is becoming one of the most complex areas of modern biotechnology. Modern technologies make it possible to qualitatively extract DNA and test it by various methods, including the determination of the Y-chromosome haplogroup and mitochondrial DNA. The paper describes the results of determining the Y-DNA haplogroups of two ancient burial sites of the XII-XIV centuries from the middle course of the Klyazma. The data obtained make it possible to determine the Y-haplogroup by the markers identified in the study. The article describes the technology using bioinformatics methods and the result obtained, which with high probability determines the Y-haplogroups R1a-M458-L1029 and I1-Z58. This work summarizes the initial stage of research undertaken in 2019-2020. The first evidence of the presence of R1a-M458 and I1-Z58 among the Klyazma population of Northeastern Russia in the XII-XIV centuries not only supports the point of view of the presence of Y-haplogroup R1a for all medieval Russian lands (inhabited by descendants of Eastern Slavs), but also hints that a certain genetic unity with the western parts of the area of the Slavs may exist (since the most serious concentrations of R1a-M458 and I1-Z58 are observed in the western part of the Slavic area).
Batyrbaeva S.D. - The Digital Turn and Historical Science pp. 6-13


Abstract: The article discusses an impact of digital turn on history studies. The author passes an opinion that historical information science and digital history are quite different from each other and are two separate domains of history. Herewith, digital history cannot substitute or absorb historical information science or other branches of history. Quantitative history is sure to dominate historical information science in the future. The author demonstrates that historical information science intentionally creates resources to solve specific research problems or processes existing ones to introduce them into scientific discourse. The division of resources into digital and analogue will be preserved and the latter ones will not disappear. The author pays attention to the use of computer technologies in history that has been influenced by the hash up of history functions. In the end, the article briefly characterizes regional aspects of the problems addressed taking as an example the state of history and education within digital turn environment in Kyrgyzstan.
Thaller M. - Modeling of History: Today and in the Future pp. 7-19


Abstract: The article interprets the term “modeling” which has had a long history related to the development of computer applications in historical research. For instance, the international conference held by the Association “History and Computing” in Moscow in 1996 announced modeling the key topic. The author notes a special role of Willard McCarty who formed our understanding of modeling as a key point of all attempts to use information technologies in humanities as a whole. The author avoids the general character of “digital humanities” and limits the study of information technologies application by analytical historical studies. The article addresses foreground approaches to modeling (methodology aspects of modeling as well), computational algorithm models, models as computer devices, text models,  models of meaning and models for computerized historical studies. It is the first time when all time-tested approaches to modeling in history are discussed. The author notes that the term “modeling” is well known but is still vague. McCarty’s original conception cannot be the most distinct definition of modeling as a precondition to use computer methods in humanities.
Borodkin L. - The Historian and the World of (Big) Data: Challenges of the Digital Turn pp. 14-30


Abstract: The article discusses contemporary challenges and problems related to historical science in the digital turn era as well as large scale digitization of historical sources. It also analyzes relations of historical information science and digital history (digital public history included) in detail. Emphasis is laid on data problems traditional of historical information science which has received a new impetus in recent years. The author discusses an expanded definition of “big data” and its specificity as applied to historical research giving a number of large-scale international research projects as an example. The article explores opportunities provided by the use of concepts and technologies of big data in history-oriented research projects and identifies promising areas to apply mathematical methods and digital technologies in historical research and educational programs. .
Valetov T. - Free Map Services (Google, Yandex, OSM) for Creating historical GIS: Digital Map of the Trans-Siberian Railroad pp. 19-37


Abstract: The article describes technological aspects of digital historical map creation taking as an example the 1891–1916 Trans-Siberian Railroad map. The author faced two tasks. On the one hand, he wanted to create a historical GIS map in shapefile format; on the other hand his goal was to tell us about software tools and data which proved to be most suitable for solving the first task. Present day map services can be of use at the initial stage of digital map creation in case most of objects coincide with current ones. It is important however to know where discrepancies begin. The author studies various open access map services both corporate (Google, Yandex, Bing) and those created by many users on a crowd sourcing basis (OpenStreetMap, Wikimapia). He pays particular attention to work with Google Earth application which he considers to suit better than specialized GIS applications for the initial formation of a set of objects on the map (in this case, railway lines). The author compares open map services in particular those providing access to aerial (satellite) images of the Earth and addresses different kinds of cartographic systems properties as useful tools for historical GIS creation (satellite images, panoramic photos, the Wiki mode user comments, etc.).
Yumasheva J.Y. - Source Base of Virtual Historical Reconstructions of Historical and Cultural Heritage Objects: Problem Setting pp. 21-50


Abstract: Virtual historical reconstructions being an actively developing branch of historical information science are characterized by a peculiar approach to source base formation and study. New complexes of sources used pose several methodological problems of source studies. The first one is the place of scientific and technical documents in classical classifications of source studies. The second one is the place of documents which were created electronically or digitized in source studies classifications. The third problem is the consideration of complex source studies methods (analysis and synthesis) in relation to specific features of different source types and their informational capabilities used to solve virtual historical reconstruction problems.  The author proposes original solutions to the indicated problems based on the analysis of classification schemes of source studies existing in Russian historiography as well as the basic principles of identifying the types of historical sources proposed by L.N. Pushkareva, I.D. Kovalchenko, S.O. Shmidt, O.M. Medushevskaya, etc. She also specifies electronic documents (both digitized and initially electronic ones) within the framework of studying the possibilities to "embed" electronic documents into existing classifications of source studies as well as formulates new approaches to the methodology of source analysis highlighting a new stage in the development of source criticism: multidisciplinary source studies.
Vladimirov V.N. - Beyond the Digital Turn: the Story Continues pp. 31-42


Abstract: The article discusses the impact of the digital turn on historical research and education. It analyzes the development of historical information science in Russia, its relationship to such areas as digital humanities and digital history. The author studies the correlation of two components of historical information science – a resource component and an analytical one. The conclusion is made about the continuing predominance of analytical studies. The article briefly describes the impact of the digital turn on historical education and considers some aspects of the development of historical source studies in this period. Particular attention is paid to terminology which is rapidly changing and requires increased attention of specialists. The article uses both historical and logical approaches when describing its main provisions. The research novelty is the fact that all the provisions of the article are based on the analysis of modern state of in historical science and education which is constantly changing and has several multidirectional development vectors. The author concludes that historical information science is still the main field of application of mathematical methods and digital technologies in history. .
Volodin A.U. - Codes of the Digit: Answers to Difficult Questions pp. 43-56


Abstract: The article discusses effects of the “digital turn” in history, changes in the historical information science agenda, ratio of historical information science and digital history research fields in the context of rapidly developing digital humanities as well. The author also studies the impact of the “digital turn” on the structure of historical knowledge and its relation to research practice, summarizes discussions about benchmarks of technological influence on historical research and defines digital platform as an infrastructure solution combining analytical and resource components of historical research. On the basis of historiographical observations and consideration of the latest historical digital projects the author traces important changes in the field of historical knowledge. An attempt is made to find possible epistemological consequences of the “digital turn” in historical research, its impact on historical heuristics, criticism and interpretation. The article answers the questions of the editorial board of “Istoricheskaya Informatika” journal about the key trends, changes and experiences of the research community using information technology in historical studies. The author considers methodological understanding of the “digital turn” and by means of a labyrinth metaphor predicts further steps of a researcher to new evidence-based knowledge when he is armed with historical information science achievements.
Garskova I.M. - The "Digital Turn" in Historical Research: Long-term Trends pp. 57-75


Abstract: The article studies the relationship of several areas associated with over 50 years that quantitative methods and information technologies in humanitarian and historical research have been in use. Firstly, it is historical information science, its structure and content, which have evolved in the domestic model of this interdisciplinary domain and “historical computing” and its specificity in the European model. Secondly, these are similar areas of general humanities. Thirdly, these are relatively new fields which are more popular in the West such as digital humanities and digital History. Having analyzed Russian and foreign historiography the author studies methodological, methodical and technological issues of the formation and development of these areas, their evolutionary stages and possible prospects for the future. The results of the analysis show the dominance of the general trends of these fields both in Russia and Europe at the initial stages and their divergence over the past 15 years which is caused by the differences in their subject areas and varying degree of influence exerted by quantitative history in the 1960s-1980s.
Mazur L.N. - History in the Digital Turn Epoch: Stages and Problems. The example of Budget Surveys of Peasants Farms in the 20th Century pp. 76-89


Abstract: The article considers theoretical and methodological aspects of the digital turn in Russian historical science, defines the notion “digital turn” and describes its connection to the digital revolution. The digital revolution in history has primarily affected its methodological, source-related, thematic, and conceptual aspects. The author characterizes the key stages in the digital turn in history: the preliminary stage (mathematization); the initial stage (computerization); and the final stage (informatization of history).  She studies digital turn peculiarities related to specific research areas taking historiography of peasant budget surveys as an example. The history of agriculture and rural life was among the first to join the processes of mathematization and computerization and illustrates the main stages of the digital turn, in particular its final stage that is the creation of remote resources. The informatization of science should be considered not only as a technological process but, since it involves a significant expansion of the range of methodological tools, as a new qualitative level in historical cognition. 
Nasevich V. - The Future of Historians in the Digital Turn Circumstances pp. 90-98


Abstract: The article focuses on plausible consequences of mass digitization of historical sources and the emergence of new types of sources such as integrated information resources, archives of online publications and big data. It also gives examples of new research methods application which correspond to digital information specifics. The author evaluates the impact of these factors on three groups of persons related to historical science. These are professional historians, specialists who prepare sources for publication and history popularizers. The possible impact of the "digital turn" on the mass audience is addressed as well. To evaluate plausible consequences of ongoing transformations in history the author uses experience of similar changes which characterized transition to mass archaeographic publications of sources. The main conclusion is the inevitable change of emphasis in history that is the reduced role of professional historians and popularizers and the growing importance of specialists who criticize sources and prepare them for publication. Another conclusion is the advent of discussion communities in social networks where members consider direct historical facts and offer their own interpretations ignoring conclusions of professional historians. 
Polovyi M. - The "Digital Turn" New Wave of Historical Information Science Technological Progress Surfing pp. 99-107


Abstract: The article evaluates the extent modern "digital turn" influences the development of history. The author thoroughly examines such issues as the influence of mass sources digitization on history, changes of research tools in the digital turn epoch, promising research approaches within the historical information science domain, proportion of resource and analytical components in quantitative history, interactions between digital humanities and history and between “historical information science” and “digital history”. He also evaluates the relevance of a new term “digital source studies”. The article uses several research methods. The main are a comparative-historical method and a descriptive method as well as general methods of analysis and synthesis. The main results are as follows. The most promising research domains within historical information science are named. The author notes the dominance of a resource component of historical information science caused by rapid spread and cheapening of digitization and web-publishing technologies. He also substantiates the synonymy of such terms as "digital history" and "historical information science". The current development of historical information science is described in terms of surfing of information technology capabilities which are constantly improving. The author demonstrates both positive and somewhat dangerous aspects which are characteristic of quantitative history development.
Salomatina S. - A Historian in Modern Information Environment and the Unity of the Different pp. 108-114


Abstract: This article is another contribution to a discussion organized by the editorial board of “Historical Information Science” journal about the development trends in Russia regarding the use of information technologies in various fields of the humanities, but primarily in history. These are such non-identical academic fields as historical information science, digital humanities and digital history. However, historical information science is the principal topic of this article. The author is a professional historian specializing in research projects aimed at generating new historical knowledge and evaluates the opportunities modern electronic information environment provides. Supporting the diversity of creative and career paths of a historian as well as the experimental academic environment in which various “technological” fields of history develop, the author notes the paucity of historical studies recognized by a broad community of historians. 
Frolov A. - The Digital Turn in History and Historical Geoinformatics pp. 115-123


Abstract: The article addresses ties between GIS technologies used to study spatial aspects of history and a phenomenon known as the “digital turn” in humanities. In fact, the development of historical geoinformatics is the essence of the “digital turn” for a research domain studying spatial aspects. Irrespective of tasks handled by a researcher, GIS provide for selection and visualization as well analysis of geodata. The “digital turn” differs from the “digital transition”. The latter is a refusal to create base maps by means of analog art devices and creation of electronic maps by means of graphic software. The specificity of relations between geoinformatics and historical research is revealed through the mismatch between the positivist epistemology of GIS and approaches of historical research. The article emphasizes that GIS is mainly geodata rather than a map. The prospects for the development of historical geoinformatics are associated with a more distinct awareness of this fact. This awareness should facilitate integration of geodata of various research groups on a common digital platform. 
Yumasheva J.Y. - The Influence of Information Society on Historical Research Methodology pp. 124-149


Abstract: The article discusses historical research in the information society which is characterized by widespread digital transformation, digitalization of historical sources and historiography, increase in the number of multidisciplinary approaches, methods and techniques involved as well as the use of various computer methods to analyze and synthesize historical sources within historical studies. The author answers debated questions which are topical in the last decades of Russian historical computer science development and its coexistence with such domains as digital humanities and digital history. The main research methods are a historical-genetic method, a historical-typological and a historical-comparative method. These methods are accompanied by a problematic-chorological, a historical-descriptive and an actualization method. The research novelty is the author’s approach which analyzes the etymology and the content of terms and concepts which actively used in modern historical studies carried out in the framework of historical information science, digital humanities and digital history and historiographically considers earlier studies, articles, monographs and Internet information resources. The author sets forth her own vision of the prospects for the development of the most significant domains of historical information science as well as the expansion and improvement of its methods and techniques. 
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