At its heart History is an interdisciplinary subject – with
connections to archaeology, English studies, philosophy,
geography and other disciplines. There is, therefore, no
simple and comprehensive list that can be drawn up to describe
all types of data produced by historians. In general,
however, we can break up data into the following categories.
compiled: This is data that can be reproduced
by examining the same sources. The most obvious is data
gathered from primary and/or secondary sources, but it would
also include more complex methods such as text and data mining,
databases, and 3D modelling.
Observational: This is
data captured ‘in the moment’ and includes oral history and
Experimental: This is more
one for the sciences; however historians do experiment
especially when crossing other disciplines such as archaeology
Simulation: Again rare for
historians, but simulations can sometimes occur to create
models over time and to test those models. This form of
data is often statistical.
One of the most common types of data produced by historians is
text. This might simply be notes derived from other
texts, lectures or jotted down thoughts and ideas, but it could
also be more structured. Transcriptions and translations
are common, as are rough drafts or annotated texts.