Digital humanities seem to be omnipresent these days and the discipline of history is no exception. This introduction is concerned with the changing practice of ‘doing’ history in the digital age, seen within a broader historical context of developments in the digital humanities and ‘digital history’. It argues that there is too much emphasis on tools and data while too little attention is being paid to how doing history in the digital age is changing as a result of the digital turn. This tendency towards technological determinism needs to be balanced by more attention to methodological and epistemological considerations.
The article offers a short survey of history and computing since the 1960s with particular attention given to the situation in the Netherlands, considers various definitions of ‘digital history’ and argues for an integrative view of historical practice in the digital age that underscores hybridity as its main characteristic. It then discusses some of the major changes in historical practice before outlining the three major themes that are explored by the various articles in this thematic issue – digitisation and the archive, digital historical analysis, and historical knowledge (re)presentation and audiences.