Zeitungsdigitalisierungen: The Biographer’s New Best Friend (NYT)

Die Zeitungen betreffenden Digitalisierungskampagnen verändern das Schreiben von Biographien, meint Stephen Mihm in der New York Times / Sunday Review:

… For generations, biographers have used the same methods to conduct research: they waded through the paper trail left by their subject, piecing together a life from epistolary fragments. Based on what they found, they might troll through newspapers from specific dates in the hope of finding coverage of their subject. There were no new-fangled technologies that promised to transform their research, no way of harnessing machines to reveal new layers of historical truth.

That’s all starting to change. Several campaigns to digitize newspapers — Readex’s “American Historical Newspapers” available by subscription at research universities, or the free “Chronicling America” collection available at the Library of Congress — have the potential to revolutionize biographical research. Newspapers are often described as the “first draft of history,” and thanks to these new tools, biographers can tap them in ways that an earlier generation of scholars could only have dreamed of.

Mr. Morris isn’t alone. Other biographers have found that digital newspapers not only shed new light on well-known lives, but they can also help circumvent the archival gate-keeping that is common with famous figures.

… And they can be seen almost instantaneously. With a few keystrokes, the aspiring biographer can resurrect the dead with far greater ease and speed than an army of research assistants. In the process, the fusty, antiquated art of researching and writing biographies may come to seem, of all things, cutting-edge.

Ganzer Artikel unter http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/opinion/sunday/the-biographers-new-best-friend.html/

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