Digital history & historiography

Hybrid approaches to historical research: analysing the Anne Frank diaries with digital tools

This paper argues for a hybrid approach to historical research that combines ’traditional’ with digital hermeneutical approaches in a new practice of doing history. As the digital turn alters and affects all parts of the historical research process, this is a pressing challenge and need for all historians, not just for those engaged in ‘big data’ projects. Indeed, hybridity is, and should be, the new normal. Yet while most historians are accustomed to deploying digital approaches in the information gathering stage of their research, they often refrain from ‘going digital’ in its processing and especially analysis stages. Describing a number of digital tools used in work done on the diaries of Anne frank, the paper critically analyses and demonstrates the added value of incorporating them in all stages of historical research. Digital approaches enhance the methodological repertoire furnished by ‘traditional’ close reading practices. Hybrid approaches thus expand our intellectual horizons and the analytical power we bring to bear upon our sources.

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