Building Online Collections for Digital Historians

How do historians of science use digital media and technology in their research? How can libraries and other cultural heritage institutions build digital collections to support new research methodologies? Stephen Robertson has argued that “Part of the explanation for why more historians have not undertaken text mining and topic modeling projects lies in the limited availability of machine readable texts: historians more often rely on unpublished sources than literary scholars, and on handwritten records that it is not yet possible to effectively use OCR to transform into machine readable text.”

I propose a talk session that gathers scholars and library professionals in the history of science to reflect on diverse digital research methodologies (text mining, mapping, topic modeling, etc.) and online historical texts and data sets. How could metadata be improved and file types presented differently so that these digital objects can work more readily with the tools researchers are using? What resources do you wish were available online? A collaborative conversation about the challenges digital historians face when using existing online resources can help improve online collections for the future.