Outlines of a new, digital source criticism

Pascal Föhr: Historische Quellenkritik im Digitalen Zeitalter, Basel 2018; https://edoc.unibas.ch/64111/ Thesis (Dissertation). Review

Not only society, but also science and with it historiography are changing. If this change takes place outside of existing basic patterns of scientific thought, there will be a paradigm shift, induced by new techniques and concepts. The “digital turn” triggered by computers, programs and algorithms and amplified and disseminated by the Internet would have to prove to be a showcase case of a scientific revolution in the sense of Thomas Kuhn, even if he developed his concept primarily for the natural sciences. The difficulty of such an investigation lies, however, in the question from which point of view we should lead it – we are in the middle of it. This can also be seen in Pascal Föhr’s dissertation. While the question of his research corresponds to the traditional historical method, the majority of the terms he uses come from the new world of computer science. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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