Risky business? Addressing the challenges of historical methods in the ‘digital age’

Langtree, Tanya, Birks, Melanie, and Biedermann, Narelle (2020) Risky business? Addressing the challenges of historical methods in the ‘digital age’. Collegian. (In Press)

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Abstract

Background: The ‘digital age’ has led to a renaissance in historical methods. The way in which nurse historians can search, collate and analyse sources has changed exponentially over the past two decades. The mass digitisation of books, newspapers and other documents has resulted in the removal of many long-standing barriers to performing historical research, such as budgetary and access restrictions. Despite these expanded opportunities, the nurse historian now faces new challenges when performing historical research.

Aim: This paper aims to stimulate discussion on the risky business of conducting nursing historical research in the ‘digital age’. In this paper, we examine the technology-born challenges encountered by nurse historians with the objective of proffering potential solutions to address such issues.

Discussion: Three contemporary challenges faced by nurse historians are: not knowing how to contain and articulate online searching; being unable to reduce the number of optical character recognition inaccuracies with digitised archaic sources; and being unsure of how to safely incorporate technological tools into historical analysis.

Conclusion: Used correctly, new technologies can augment and strengthen traditional historical methods. Nurse historians need to be mindful that the way in which technologies are used is controlled by the user, rather than the technology itself.

Item ID: 64395
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1876-7575
Keywords: Digital research; Digitisation; Historiography; History of nursing; Nursing research
Copyright Information: © 2020 Australian College of Nursing Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2020 23:56
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920210 Nursing @ 100%
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