Digital History

Digital history harnesses new technologies to analyze historical sources, to locate patterns and trends, and to communicate scholarly findings. Digital historians use a wide range of analytic approaches. Some engage in text mining or big data analysis to identify patterns; others study the construction and evolution of spaces or flows using a geographic information system (GIS); and still others use digital tools to analyze networks. In addition to helping historians approach questions from new angles, digital technologies provide novel vehicles for sharing our research with others. Many digital historians incorporate graphs, visualizations, or computer-generated statistics into their writings. Others use "born digital" platforms for scholarly communication, constructing interactive websites based on their research. Finally, some digital historians use technology to create new communities through blogs, discussion groups, and online exhibits or repositories of historical materials.

Chicago’s digital historians have a range of interests. For example, Faith Hillis works with historical GIS and network analysis tools to trace the movement of people and commodities across time and space. Dain Borges works with digitized censuses and geographical databases on social history, and with text corpuses on intellectual history.