'Archival' Research: 21st-Century Methods of Research 19th-Century Music
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AbstractFor the public, the idea of archival research might best be conveyed in the montage sequence one typically finds in Hollywood detective dramas of the 1970s and ‘80s: with the resilient hero poring over old account books in the city records office and scrolling through newspapers on a microfilm reader. Over the past three decades, however, the methods of archival research have been transformed by digital technology. Anyone with computer or smart phone is now a potential detective, as digitization projects and internet search engines have made researchers of us all. Swept along with the juggernaut of technological change, scholarly research has the potential to be transformed in yet more substantial ways.
In this paper, I use the sources of my current book project to illustrate that almost all research for many nineteenth-century topics can now be done online. The project explores the connections between traditional and popular musics, theater, and politics in North America and the British Isles in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. It draws on a wide range of primary sources: census data, printed music, songsters, period newspapers, memoirs, photographic images and other ephemera. Most of these resources are now available online – most at no cost. Beyond the documents, everyday resources such as Google maps allow us to compare past and present topographies, while innovative ‘digital humanities’ projects offer an array of new tools for scholars. I conclude with some reflections on the impact these developments may have on research in music.
All Author(s) ListBrian Thompson
Name of Conference3rd ICTM Forum: Approaches to Research in Music and Dance in the Internet Era
Start Date of Conference11/07/2018
End Date of Conference14/07/2018
Place of ConferenceBeijing
Country/Region of ConferenceChina
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-25-10 at 14:44