Historians were among the first humanities scholars to utilize computers as research tools, recognizing their value as early as the mid-1960s. Since that time, as the technology and the field have both evolved, computers have remained important tools for research, teaching and communication. With an ever greater breadth of scholarly activities for which computational tools are used, the Digital History Seminar has convened a panel the reflect on the ongoing dialogue between information technologies and their use in the discipline of history.
The panel will be made up of pioneers in historical computing including Sir Roderick Floud (Gresham College), Robert Shoemaker (Sheffield) and Don Spaeth (Glasgow) who will discuss the past, present and future of digital history. Each of the panelists has played a significant role in the development of the use of computational methods for historical phenomena. They will collectively provide a fascinating picture of the shift from historical computing to digital history. Each panelist will speak for about 15 minutes on their use of computers and digital tools for historical research and teaching. The talks will be followed by a moderated discussion.
Sir Roderick Floud is a distinguished professor of economic history and has been Provost of Gresham College since 2008. Previously he was Dean of the School of Advanced Study of which the IHR is a part, Provost of London Guildhall University and the first Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University. Among many honors and fellowships he is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Arts and the British Academy. He has published widely on topics as diverse as technological change, the use of IT in the study of history, the evolution of technical education and changes in human height, health and welfare. He was knighted in 2005.
Robert Shoemaker is Professor of Eighteenth-Century British history at the University of Sheffield. He has published on the history of crime and criminal justice, gender, and violence. Along with Tim Hitchcock and Clive Emsley he is director of the Old Bailey Proceedings Online, a fully searchable edition of the entire run of published accounts of trials which took place at the Old Bailey from 1674 to 1913. This groundbreaking work was the first of a number of important primary source resources that Shoemaker and Hitchcock have created. In January 2011 he and Hitchcock were awarded the Longman-History Today Trustees Award, presented to a person, persons or organisation that has made a major contribution to history, for their work on the Old Bailey and London Lives projects.
Don Spaeth is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow. His research focuses on the social history of early modern England and the application of computers to historical research and teaching. He is the author of The Church in Age of Danger as well as of various articles on historical and methodological topics. In the 1990s, he ran a series of externally-funded national computer-based initiatives, including the Computers in Teaching Initiative Centre for History, Archaeology and Art History and, as director, the TLTP History Software Consortium, a consortium of eighty UK institutions. He is currently working on three research projects: on lay-clerical relations in Elizabethan England, scolding and gender relations, and the digitisation and analysis of Welsh Wills.