Tuesday 9 October 2012 – Camille Desenclos – Rethinking historical research in the digital age: a TEI approach

Digital History seminar
Camille Desenclos
Rethinking historical research in the digital age: a TEI approach
Tuesday 9 October 2012, 5.15pm (17.15 BST)
Senate House, G37 (Bedford Room)

Please join us for the next Digital History seminar either in person at Senate House (room G37) or online via our video live stream.  As per usual we will be offering you the chance to post questions for the speaker to answer, and will have a lively Twitter feed (under the #dhist hashtag).

More information below:


Historical research cannot be conceived without a close relation to physical text:  paper is still the main source. However the emergence and subsequent multiplication of digital technologies within the historical field have tended to modify the examination of sources. This change is particularly apparent for text editions: how is one to manage the transfer from the manuscript age to a digital one? Can sources be understood and analysed without physical support?

This paper will be based on experiences of using electronic editions of early modern texts, specifically diplomatic correspondences such as L’ambassade extraordinaire du duc d’Angoulême, comte de Béthune et abbé de Préaux vers les princes et potentats de l’Empire. TEI, a XML-based language, has been chosen for those editions. Using such a structured language – a far cry from the plain text created by classical text editors – implies changing the conception of what an edition is. We need not just think about texts anymore but only about the historical information contained within the text and which has to be highlighted in terms of the research. This requires researchers to think more about what they want and what they want to show in their studies. Above all, it allows researchers to track specific features such as diplomatic formulas and then to facilitate their analysis.

The aim of this talk is to ask if and how digital technologies have changed how historians view sources and even if they have changed the historical studies themselves; how TEI can be used to create new kind of editions. This paper will try to show how, if well used, TEI and digital technologies highlight and add to the results of historical studies.

 For more information about this seminar see the IHR website events section.

To join us online follow this link on Tuesday 9th October: Live Stream webpage 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *