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Call for special issue for the Journal of Digital History: Digital Tools

This special issue of the Journal of Digital History, to be published in the fall of 2023, welcomes contributions that introduce and discuss digital toolkits for exploring historic source materials, be they sonic, textual, visual, or audiovisual, by October 31, 2022.

In line with the journal’s publication standards, the toolkits should be open source and available in Jupyter Notebooks. Preferably, datasets used should also be open and available for being uploaded on the journal’s website. Contributions that take advantage of the journal’s multi-layered structure for narrating and commenting on code, including analytical reflections on the possibilities and limitations of the analytical tools used, are especially welcome. Proposals for methods that combine multiple media modalities—from 3D to text, sound, and moving images are invited. Finally, contributions that provide critical reflections on the role of digital tools in producing new (historic) knowledge, and/or strive to historize the use of digital methods among historians, are encouraged.

Authors should locate proposed submissions in a broader methodological and/or historical context and express a pedagogic interest in explaining, illustrating, and untangling the functionality of the proposed methods. The digital tools do not have to be fully programmed by the authors themselves—extending and reusing existing open-source code is naturally acceptable. However, the particular assemblage of code and scripts in the toolkits should be unique and display a novel level of complexity, with a scientific and/or methodological contextualization.

The topic of contributions may include—but are not limited to:

– Textual, visual, audiovisual and/or sonic toolkits for exploring historic source materials, including discussions on the challenges and opportunities that such tools bring with them.
– New methods of using AI and machine learning to analyze, annotate or extract information from historic sources, including techniques such as natural language processing, speech to text, facial/object detection, etc.
– Toolkits that aim at preparing, organizing, and curating datasets.
– Reflections on the process of (re-)training and adapting machine learning techniques for historic purposes.
– Comparative investigations of the technical workings of different methods for analyzing digitized historic sources.
– The history of the use of digital tools among historians, including hands-on illustrations of the evolution and development of digital tools and techniques.

Abstracts of a maximum of 500 words should be emailed to Pelle Snickars and Maria Eriksson no later than October 31, 2022. Please note that acceptance of an abstract does not ensure final publication since all articles must go through the journal’s usual review process. If you have any questions or want to discuss a proposal, please contact the special issue editors at

Learn more or submit an abstract here.

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