What are the effects of digitization of primary source materials on research? . Enormous databases can have a misleading appearance of exhaustiveness; but, what items are missing from these collections and what is not being represented? Historians need to understand databases at the collection level, not simply at the level of individual documents and artifacts. They must be able to understand the way that collections have been constructed; and discover the provenance of materials contained in databases.
To explore ways to respond to some of these issues and questions, the Graduate Center at CUNY has created a new NEH-funded pilot project—Beyond Citation (http://www.beyondcitation.org/). The project’s goal is to collect and centralize information about digital resources and databases and to encourage conversations among researchers to enhance public understandings about those materials. Ultimately, we would like to become the “Missing Manual” for research databases.
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