Connecting the past – present – future: studies and methods in history for Antarctic research and science.
Tuesday, 26th August, 18:15 (6:15pm) – 2 hour session
A small selection of discussion points for the workshop
This panel session grew out of research that focused on mining meteorological data from polar diaries, an enterprise that threw up a variety of challenges. It also offered opportunities, such as finding hidden information. Unique access to certain resources often gives persistent or fortunate historians a competitive edge by providing new information of perspectives on otherwise oft reported events.
As with any research project, whether in the natural or social sciences, it is critically important to frame the research question before embarking on any literature or archive research. Careful preparation and clear targeting of resources that seem most likely to yield useful information will save time in the long run. Not many of us have the luxury to apply open ended effort on archive research. By discussing the range of approaches taken by participants, we can identify similarities and opportunities to work together to avoid duplications.
This is only a small example what we have to consider when working with written accounts, and we welcome input from all workshop participants.
• Assessing the veracity (accuracy and intrinsic value) of any diary comments or descriptions requires triangulation with other sources
• Correspondence is an important source of material to verify accounts, as both personal and official letters can provide additional information
• Translations from the original written diary (German, French, Japanese, etc.) can be critical
• Knowledge of historic background and social issues as well as the biographical background of a diarist are important to put the content of a diary in a wider context
• Is there value in establishing a single register of polar diaries, including details such as location, online address, format, accessibility, ownership and a short synopsis?
• Is there value in establishing a register of historians who have transcribed diaries, correspondence or reports and who are willing to share their work? There is considerable duplication of effort transcribing materials of this sort.
• What are the expectations of different research groups of how the diaries should be prepared for their specific questions?
• What could be a useful platform to communicate the diaries?
Our team has much more in mind what to discuss with you. We are open for to any comments and contributions towards the intended workshop. These are only few examples what makes this workshop so precious.
We are looking forward meeting you at the workshop.
Ursula, Andrew, Susan