Doing digital history

A beginner's guide to working with text as data

By Jonathan Blaney, Jane Winters, Sarah Milligan and Martin Steer

Doing digital history


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3268-0
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £12.99
  • Published Date: May 2021
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / General, HISTORY / Historiography, Modern History, Data Analysis: General, Research Methods: General, History: Theory & Methods, History, History: theory & methods, LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Library & Information Science / Digital & Online Resources
  • Series: IHR Research Guides


This book is a practical introduction to digital history. It offers advice on the scoping of a project, evaluation of existing digital history resources, a detailed introduction to how to work with large text resources, how to manage digital data and how to approach data visualisation.

Doing digital history covers the entire life-cycle of a digital project, from conception to digital outputs. It assumes no prior knowledge of digital techniques and shows you how much you can do without writing any code. It will give you the skills to use common formats such as XML. A key message of the book is that data preparation is a central part of most digital history projects, but that work becomes much easier and faster with a few essential tools.


1 The context of digital history
2 Formulating your research questions
3 How a digital project begins
4 Working with text 1: unstructured text
5 Working with text 2: structured text
6 Caring for your digital history project
7 Visualising your data
8 What next for digital history?
Test yourself answers
Appendix 1: Getting the data
Appendix 2: Some command line recipes
Appendix 3: Regular expressions


Jonathan Blaney was Head of Digital Projects at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London until 2021

Sarah Milligan is an independent scholar based in Victoria, Canada

Marty Steer is Technical Lead, Digital Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London

Jane Winters is Professor of Digital Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London

Doing digital history

By Jonathan Blaney, Jane Winters, Sarah Milligan, Martin Steer

Paperback £12.99 / $18.95

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