Historical informatics - rubric Editor-in-Chief's column
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Editor-in-Chief's column
Borodkin L., Vladimirov V.N. - Address to Authors and Readers of Historical Information Science Journal pp. 1-4


Abstract: The authors mainly focus on the aims and goals of Historical Information Science journal that continues to publish articles within the frames of this interdisciplinary domain as it originally did 5 years ago in a different format though. In Russia this domain has been related to computer technologies and mathematical methods use in history and education for 25 years already. The authors state that its basis is a complex of theoretical and applied knowledge needed to develop, process and analyze electronic versions of various historical sources. Characterizing methods and technologies of historical information science the authors note the broadening of their potential due to the “microcomputer revolution” of 1980-1990s and two decades that followed. The conclusion is that the main issue addressed by historical information science specialists is the question: How do new methods and technologies enrich historical studies? This question is sure to be the key one in new issues of Historical Information Science journal.
Borodkin L., Vladimirov V.N. - Innovations and Traditons of Historical Information Science pp. 1-4


Abstract: The second 2017 issue of Historical Information Science journal is characterized. The main sections of the issue are presented. These are “Databases and Data Retrieval Systems”, “Quantitative History”, “Digital Resources”, “Information Technologies in Archives and Museums”, “Information Technologies in Historical Education”. The basic content of the articles is analyzed. Emphasis is laid on the articles describing the use of geoinformation systems in historical studies. The authors of these articles emphasize the necessity to modernize opportunities of spatial historical processes dynamics analysis on the basis of GIS-technologies. In this respect, they suggest the use of available GIS-packages as well as their own software. The editorial board plans to publish at least two issues of the journal and focus on research in this domain in one of them. The second issue is likely to address the analysis of historical texts based on modern software application.
Borodkin L., Vladimirov V.N. - Association History and Computer: 25 years on. pp. 1-6


Abstract: The article studies the formation and activity of History and Computer Association (HCA) that is a union of historical information science specialists. The HCA development was accompanied by the formation of historical information science, a historical field employing mathematical methods and computer technologies. The article describes the formation of a new research domain, the main aspects of HCA activity connected to the development of historical information science as well as the main stages of HCA development. The role of the journal “Historical Information Science” for this new domain is emphasized. The research methodology is to analyze the key events and processes of HCA life a scientific community which influenced the formation and development of such a domain as historical information science. Today the association is a professional community developing a topical interdisciplinary field, historical information science, that is increasingly active. By autumn 2017 about 200 people were HCA members. They represent research centers and universities from Russia, the Republic of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Latvia and the Ukraine. 
Vladimirov V.N. - Historical Information Science: Incremental Progress pp. 1-5


Abstract: The article studies the structure and the subject matter of the current issue of Historical Information Science Journal. Overpassing 25 years of its development, historical information science continues to move forward. Somewhat a mirror of this development that reflects the established traditions and new development trends of this special historical field is the cognominal journal which current issue is analyzed in the article. The content of each issue is formed randomly, but it is this combination of a row of random moments that allows us to trace the laws of the science development. The research methodology is to analyze the subject matter of the articles submitted and briefly review them. The novelty of the article is the fact that all the articles analyzed are published for the first time and describe authors’ original works. Each new issue of the journal cannot (due to its limited volume) totally cover modern application of mathematical methods and information technologies in historical studies and education, but it grasps the most topical and breakthrough moments of historical information science.
Borodkin L., Vladimirov V.N. - To the 50th Anniversary of Russian Quantitative History pp. 1-6


Abstract: Russian quantitative history studies began in the 1960s when historians started to use mathematical methods and computers. Those activities contributed to the establishment of the Commission on application of mathematical methods and computers in historical research at the Department of History of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1968. So, this event initiated by I. Kovalchenko, the future academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, marks the 50th anniversary of Russian quantitative history. The article, written for the column "Editor-in-Chief", through the prism of the materials of this issue of the journal describes current trends in historical information science, which origin was largely due to the experience of computer applications in the quantitative history studies. New approaches are characterized in the application of technologies of virtual and augmented reality creating 3D reconstructions of historical and cultural heritage. The new trend is software modules development aimed at providing validation of virtual reconstructions in historical and archeological studies. New approaches to the study of spatial aspects are developed using GIS technologies in combination with the analysis of narrative sources.  
Borodkin L. - Invariants of Historical Information Science in a Changing World pp. 1-7


Abstract: The article discusses “invariants” of historical information science (concepts, categories and characteristics of this interdisciplinary research field) which have been practically unchangeable for its nearly 30-year development. At the same time, the dynamic development of new technologies, the “digital turn” in history brought out new challenges and made a number of historical information science categories update. The article touches upon some recent discussions on the relationship between historical information science and digital history affecting, in particular, the issue of the extent to which the digital turn which has dramatically expanded access to digitized historical sources may affect the analytical work of a professional historian.
Borodkin L., Vladimirov V.N. - Digital Technologies and Resources in Historical Research: Discussions and Experience pp. 1-8


Abstract: The article discusses topical issues of the development of methodological tools of historical research in the light of the “digital turn”. The current agenda is formed today in the framework of international conferences and round tables. In the first part of the article the authors characterize the interdisciplinary discussion that took place at the Helsinki conference in 2019. The discussion focused on the role of digital data and tools in historians' research practices and forms of cooperation. Special attention is paid to the question of the extent to which the “digital turn” affects the fundamental aspects of historical research and its results. In the second part of the article it is noted that the answer to this question can be obtained through concrete historical research projects. The characteristic of a number of the latest works of Russian and foreign historians using digital resources and technologies in concrete historical research is given.
Borodkin L., Vladimirov V.N. -
Historical Studies in the Digital Turn Era: New Challenges, New Answers
pp. 1-5


Abstract: The article starts a special issue of Historical Information Science journal which addresses a topical and an important impact of the “digital turn” on a historian, methodology and practice of historical research and historical education. These questions were raised when questioning well-known scholars applying mathematical methods and information technologies to historical studies and education who work at various research centers in Russian and abroad. The research novelty is a new approach to evaluate the current state of one of the most popular domains of humanities – history in the context of the “digital turn”. The questionnaire has been drawn up by the editorial staff and the editorial board members of the journal. The focus is the impact of the “digital turn” on historical studies and education, new terms and definitions, ties of historical information science with such domains as digital humanities and “digital history”, the role and the importance of an analytical component in research done by historians using new methods and techniques, the status of “digital sources” as well as the necessity to form a new branch of source studies (“digital source studies”). .
Borodkin L. - Transformation of university history education against the backdrop of the digital era: academic and methodological seminar at Moscow State University pp. 1-10



Abstract: The article contains an analytical description of the main directions of work of the All-Russian academic and methodological seminar, which took place in January 2024 at the Faculty of History of Moscow State University and was oriented to the problems of digital transformation of university historical education, as well as the development of educational programs in the field of "Historical Information Science" and related program profiles. The seminar was organized by the Faculty of History of Moscow State University and the interregional association "History and Computing" (). The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the current experience accumulated by historians of Russian universities in the use of digital technologies, data science methods and artificial intelligence in the educational process. Another direction of the seminar was the exchange of experience in the development of educational programs in the field of Historical Information Science. Other educational programs of similar profiles were also discussed, for example, Applied Informatics in the Humanities for bachelors. More than 80 university representatives from six countries took part in the seminar. A number of reports examined new formats of educational work that have been introduced in universities in recent years in the context of the digital transformation of higher education, including project activities of students, the work of a tutor in a digital department of a university, and the organization of a research and educational group based on scientific partnership between students and teachers. The article notes that during the seminar, noticeable interest was shown in organizing the educational process in the field of Historical Information Science using the example of the experience of the History Faculty of Moscow University over the past two decades. The second part of the article provides a brief description of MSU educational programs.
Borodkin L. - Historical Computer Science today: "ambiguous understanding"? (contemporary discussions) pp. 33-49


Abstract: The article contains a critical analysis of two theses presented in a recently published monograph on historical information systems. The book contains a lot of useful information, including a description of the author's experience in developing such systems. Both theses discussed are related to the authors' assessment of the evolution of an interdisciplinary field focused on the use of information/digital technologies and data analysis methods in historical research. We are talking about historical computer science, which has passed a 30-year path in our country. The first controversial thesis of the authors of the book boils down to the statement that "historical informatics has not found sufficient and deserved recognition among traditional historians."   The first controversial thesis of the authors of the book boils down to the statement that "historical informatics has not found sufficient and deserved recognition among traditional historians." In the second thesis, we are talking about the fact that in many ways the field of research and development, previously related to historical computer science, is now being considered in line with digital history. Both theses are disputed in the article, the corresponding arguments are given. The specificity of the Russian model of historical informatics, which distinguishes it from the relatively recent versions of digital history, is shown. This specificity is determined by the balance of the structure of historical informatics, combining its "resource" component with an analytical one aimed at obtaining meaningful meaningful results (and with an emphasis on the second component).
Borodkin L. - "Efficiency in science is first of all fundamentality": a quantitative history through the prism of the personal archive of Academician I.D. Kovalchenko pp. 52-67



Abstract: The year 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of academician I.D. Kovalchenko, an outstanding Soviet and Russian historian. This article is devoted to important aspects of his academic and organizational activities in the field of application of mathematical methods and computers in historical research. This is a look through the prism of the academician's personal archive. The article describes the discussion on the problems of modeling historical processes and phenomena, in which academician I.D. Kovalchenko participated, and also reveals his position on the analysis of alternatives to the historical process. As the main example of an alternative historical situation analyzed by I.D. Kovalchenko, the "Great Turning Point" is considered, the end of the 1920s. Bukharin's alternative is considered as actually existing. The materials of Academician Kovalchenko's personal archive clearly demonstrate his conviction that the application of mathematical methods in historical research is not a "purely technical" task, he formulates a number of methodological issues that arise in this kind of interdisciplinary research. The materials of the academician's personal archive reveal an important feature of his research attention to the correctness of the using mathematical and statistical methods. While working on his doctoral dissertation, he tested its methodology at a seminar of the specialized Department of the Faculty of Mathematics of Moscow State University. The work on the monograph (jointly with L.V.Milov) on the formation of the All-Russian agricultural market gave rise to correspondence with N.S. Chetverikov, a famous Soviet and Russian statistician of the Chuprov school, who developed, in particular, mathematical methods for analyzing dynamic series. In this correspondence, controversial issues of statistical methodology were clarified. Quantitative history, the founder of which in Russia is academician I.D. Kovalchenko, is again an urgent trend today. In the 21st century, there has been an actual increase in interest in Data Science, the traditional core of which is statistical methods.
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