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Volodin A. - Discussion Club of Istoricheskaya Informatika Journal. Discussing the Book УWhat is Digital History?Ф by Hannu Salmi pp. 161-167


Abstract: This article reports about the new initiative of the Historical Information Science Journal editorial board aimed at creating a discussion club to review topical monographs. The journal today covers many fields of history digitization such as historical information science, digital history, digital humanities. The first discussion of the club addresses the book by the Finnish Science Academy professor Hannu Salmi titled “What is Digital History?” (Medford: PolityPress, 2020). The first club meeting was attended by L.I. Borodkin, V.N. Vladimirov, I.M. Garskova, N.G. Povroznik and moderated by A.Yu. Volodin. The article briefly characterizes the series the reviewed book is a part of. Those are “What is history?” series by Polity publishing house. The author describes the monograph structure in general and analyzes new historiographic examples provided by H. Salmi which relate to digital history discussions and issues which are characterized by numerous approaches, opinions and projects. Considering the writer’s definition of digital history as a “mobile layer of historical research with multiple approaches, projects, publications, services and sources” the author concludes that this field can hardly be precisely defined nowadays. This is true of the experimental character of the majority of projects within this sphere.
Vladimirov V. - What is Digital History after all? pp. 168-173


Abstract: The article summarizes the author’s report at a discussion organized by the editorial board of the Istoricheskaya Informatika journal that addressed the book “What is Digital History?” by Salmi H. published in 2020. The book is named a manual for students thus justifying the opinion to consider the material presented to readers as representing a set of the most established positions and opinions in the field of digital history. The book discusses such issues as the time of digital history birth, its definition, subject field, functions as well as the importance for the widespread dissemination of historical knowledge in society. The author criticizes the concept of prerequisites for digital history birth outlined by H. Salmi which completely ignores the History and Computing movement in Western Europe and North America which played an important role in the formation of Russian historical information science and which was the discussion panel where many digital history issues were raised and resolved. The structure of the book is discussed as well. The article emphasizes the author's viewpoint on the importance of geographic information systems and technologies for historical research which he clearly underestimates. It is concluded that historical information science and digital history are different spheres of interdisciplinarity.
Garskova I.M. - Historical Research and Digital History or How Much History is there in Digital History? pp. 174-181


Abstract: The article discusses the book by H. Salmi "What is digital history?". It is the first monograph that attempts to systematize many digital history issues from the viewpoint of a historian and culture researcher. While evaluating the conceptual problems of the relationship between digital history and digital humanities as well as digital history and historical science, the author considers Salmi’s historiographic review, reference apparatus and representativeness of Internet resources links. The content of the monograph is analyzed through the prism of the national school of quantitative history experience and from the standpoint of the national model of historical information science. The performed analysis allows the author to conclude that H. Salmi reasonably emphasizes the great “disciplinarity” of digital history, its ties with the subject area of historical science. The author of the book does not ignore quantitative methods either.  His idea of the proximity of textuality and visuality seems to be interesting as well.At the same time, H. Salmi's monograph (traditionally for digital humanities) simplifies rather complex process of mathematization and informatization of humanitarian research in the second half of the 20th century. It seems that when describing the digital past, excessive attention is paid to technological progress while methods and technologies of digital data processing are relatively less in the focus.It can be concluded that the information support of historical studies can give digital history the necessary integrity and indicate a promising vector of its development.
Povroznik N. - Digital History, Digital Historical Sources and Criticism: Review of УWhat is Digital History?Ф
by Hannu Salmi

pp. 182-188


Abstract: The article is a review of the book “What is Digital History?” by Salmi H. which discusses digital history, a new field in history, and defines its framework. The review considers a range of issues related to digital sources, their typology, approaches to the formation of the source base and their criticism. The article analyzes the author’s attitude to digitized historical sources based on original analogous sources and born-digital ones as well as methods of their processing used by contemporary historians. These aspects have a direct impact on present day historical research and must be taken into account by historians. The review also addresses the author's views on epistemology and hermeneutics which are increasingly important in the digital age.  The topics named are unevenly distributed in the book. Sources of a new type are considered in detail in the chapter “The Digital Past: Sources and Problems”. Other issues are studied in the rest of chapters and in less detail. The review is complemented with examples of other projects and modern publications that were not included in the text of the reviewed book, but are essential for the topic as a whole.
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