Reading historical sources in the digital age 5–6 December 2013, Luxembourg

The Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance sur l’Europe (CVCE), together with the Jean Monnet Chair in History of European Integration (University of Luxembourg, FLSHASE) and its research programme ‘Digital Humanities Luxembourg’ — DIHULUX (research unit Identités-Politiques-Sociétés-Espaces (IPSE)) — and the University of Luxembourg’s Master’s in Contemporary European History, are pleased to organise the DHLU Symposium 2013.

After the inaugural DHLU Symposium in 2009 that focused on ‘Contemporary history in the digital age’ and a second edition which tackled the methodological and theoretical implications of considering websites as primary sources (March 2012), this third edition will focus on the use of online thematic research corpora.

Given that more and more sources for contemporary history are being made available online as digital research corpora — as on the CVCE’s site — and following on from the first two editions which examined the methods used to develop these sources, this third edition of Digital Humanities Luxembourg will focus on the various ways in which this material is used by humanities researchers, particularly contemporary historians and more specifically specialists in European integration.
The Symposium will be structured around the following research clusters:

Distant/close reading — Data retrieval, analysis and visualisation
As increasing quantities of historical data are published on the web, the prospect of making simple use of these data — i.e. reading PDFs on screen or printing them out to read on paper — is becoming increasingly less realistic and methodologically sustainable. What options are open to researchers, and what are the concomitant methodological issues? This cluster will cover various themes, including: (big) data, text mining and semantic analysis, quantitative data approaches, network analysis, data visualisation (including GIS), and more generally the links between distant and close readings.

Community reading. Several online digital thematic collections, and more generally many online services available for research, offer users the possibility of registering, and sometimes of working together with other researchers, either directly or indirectly. This can lead to a collaborative and interactive reading of historical sources. Moreover, given the proliferation of these collections, what challenges and opportunities exist for cooperation and interoperability between communities? What consequences will this have on the way we currently conduct research in the humanities?

Writing history & Assessing scholarship
Once researchers begin to use digital thematic collections, will it change the way they write history? This cluster will include practical papers (e.g. on how to cite digital resources) as well as more theoretical ones. It will also embrace issues relating to the validity and quality of data and research outputs based on digital thematic collections, as well as the evaluation of those collections as a new kind of online scholarly publication.

The Symposium will be introduced by a keynote from Tim Hitchcock (University of Hertfordshire; co-director of the Old Bailey online).

Scientific committee

 Claire Clivaz (University of Lausanne)
 René Leboutte (University of Luxembourg)
 Claudine Moulin (Trier University)
 Serge Noiret (European University Institute, Florence)
 Stéfan Sinclair (McGill University)
 Marianne Backes (CVCE)

Coordination: Lars Wieneke (CVCE)