Digital History

My research frequently comes across digital methods. Following my participation to the Digital Humanities Luxembourg (DHLU) Conference that took place in November 2013, I wrote up my presentation on the challenges of using online digital sources in international economic history in a blog post. Taking up the challenge further, I tried to use text mining tools in the analysis of one key source for my EMS book, namely Helmut Schmidt’s visit to the Bundesbank in 1978.


(This word cloud is based on my book‘s proofs using wordle.)

The news have proved to be a source of reflections and comment on the uses, challenges and pitfalls of digital history.

  • The controversy over the loss of former Secretary General of the Élysée Palace Claude Guéant’s archives (unfortunately) shed light on some long-standing challenges facing historians.
  • The issue of the publication (or leak!) of the European Central Bank’s minutes of meetings has also raised much controversy. I analysed the October 2014 leak of the ECB minutes here; and the release of the first ECB “account of the monetary policy meeting of 21-22 January 2015” here.
  • I have written a couple of blog posts on the controversy about Hillary Clinton’s emails [the former US Secretary of State had used her personal email address instead of the official one while in office; as a consequence of that “emailgate” she asked to release publicly the emails]: the first blog is looking at the implications of this story for the historian, and the second one at how we can search (or not!) into the first batch of emails that have been released in May 2015.
  • More recently, I blogged about my first steps in using Tropy and gave a keynote speech outlining my use of digital methods in historical research.

I have also recently published a book chapter, in French, that is a guide on social networks for researchers. The chapter is published in a volume edited by Frédéric Clavert, Étienne Cavalié, Olivier Legendre, et Dana Martin, Humanités numériques: mode d’emploi pour le chercheur en sciences sociales aux Presses de l’Université de Montréal.

At Bruegel, and together with Enrico Bergamini, Francesco Papadia and Giuseppe Porcaro, we are currently running a research project seeking to quantify and analyse national printed media discourses about Europe over the decades since the end of the second world war.

•  A series of blogs outlined some preliminary results of our research: first about Le Monde (March 2019), second about Die Zeit and Der Spiegel (July 2019), and third about La Stampa (October 2019) 

• The Working Paper setting out the whole methodology written by Enrico Bergamini and myself came out in March 2021