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Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Historians

Friday, December 7, 2012

Abstract

This study, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, uncovers the needs of today’s historians and provides guidance for how research support providers can better serve them. The report explores areas such as content discovery, information management, scholarly analysis, collaboration, library use, the writing process, professional interactions, and publication, among others.
 
Interviews of faculty and graduate students reveal history as a field in transition. It is characterized by a vast expansion of new sources, widely adopted research practices and communication mechanisms shaped by new technologies, and a small but growing subset of scholars utilizing new methodologies to ask questions or share findings in fresh, unique ways. 
 
Research support providers such as libraries, archives, humanities centers, scholarly societies, and publishers – not to mention academic departments that are often at the front line of educating the next generation of scholars – need to innovate in support of these changes. This report provides context and a set of recommendations that the authors hope will help.

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