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Concepts
Source criticism

Source criticism is a concept originating in European history, but increasingly being taken over by other fields including Library and information science. Sources may be defined as information sources. An information source may be a document, a person, a speech, a fingerprint, a photo, an observation or anything used in order to obtain knowledge. In relation to a given purpose, a given information source may be more or less valid, reliable or relevant. By implication is source criticism in the most general meaning of the term the interdisciplinary study of how information sources are evaluated for given tasks.

Terminology

A search for "source criticism" in titles of papers in the databases ''Arts & Humanities Citation Index'' and ''Social Sciences Citation Citation Index'' (july 2008) found only 26 papers, which is a very low figure compared to the widespread use of this concept in (parts of) Europe. Those 26 papers were distributed among the following disciplines (one document indexed as both RELIGION and ORIENTAL STUDIES):

- **15 57.7% RELIGION
- ** 5 19.2% HISTORY
- ** 2 07.7% CLASSICS
- ** 2 07.7% PHILOSOPHY
- ** 1 03.8% LITERATURE
- ** 1 03.8% MUSIC
- ** 1 03.8% ORIENTAL STUDIES

Bible studies thus dominate the use of "source criticism" in America. All five HISTORY papers were by European authors/journals. The term is thus relatively seldom used in English about [[historical method]]s and [[historiography]]. It is used by Howell & Prevenier (2001) but this book is a based on a Dutch book. It is not used by, for example, Brundage (1989). The English article "source criticism" was about Biblical studies until changed by Hjørland summer 2008. (The term "[[historical criticism]]" was used 115 times in the same two databases, but still dominated by Biblical studies (39.1%) followed by History (19.1%). It is thus not likely that the European term translates to "historical criticism").

This difference between European and American use of "source criticism" is somewhat strange considering the influence of Ranke on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It has been suggested that differences in the use of the term are not accidental but due to different views of the historical method. In the German/Scandinavian tradition this subject is seen as important, whereas the Anglo-American tradition it is believed that historical methods must be specific and associated whith the subject studied, why there is no general field of "source criticism".

Epistemological issues

In recent years has the so-called "functional concept of sources" been influential. An information sources is regarded in relation to the questions, it is helping to answer. While Erslev (1926) is mostly considered positivist, is Olden-Jørgensen (1994) based on hermeneutics and the functional view.




Literature

Ankersborg, Vibeke (2007). Kildekritik i et samfundsvidenskabeligt perspektiv. Forlaget Samfundslitteratur

Brundage, Anthony (2007). Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Research and and Writing, 4th Ed. Wheeling, Illinois: Harlan Davidson, Inc. (3rd edition, 1989 cited in text).

Erslev, Kristian (1926). Historisk Teknik. Den Historiske Undersøgelse Fremstillet i Sine Grundlinier. Anden udgave, Tiende oplag. (1 udgave udkom 1911). Genoptrykt i 1987.

Fritch, J. W., & Cromwell, R. L. (2001). Evaluating Internet resources: Identity, affiliation, and cognitive authority in a networked world. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 52, 499-507.

Howell, Martha & Prevenier, Walter(2001). From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Leth, Göran. & Thurén, Torsten. (2000). Källkritik för Internet. Styrelsen för psykologiskt försvar. > (2008-02-02). http://www.psycdef.se/templates/PublicationItem____219.aspx

Olden-Jørgensen, Sebastian (1998). Til Kilderne: Introduktion til Historisk Kildekritik. København: Gads Forlag.
Udgangspunktet er evnen til at spørge - udgangspunkt er nu historikeren - han/hun er i fokus. Svaret - man spørger: : Hvad er det?
Spiral: spørgsmål -> svar -> nye spørgsmål -> osv. Det første svar er en hypotese.
Begrundelse - argumenter: Det kan igen afstedkomme spørgsmål. (Her vil de marxistiske teoretikere finde argumenter i marxismen - Marx-historikere arbejder inden for de perioder/felter, hvor de kan benytte deres teorier).
Med mellemrum formulerer man en teori (en veificeret hypotese) - en syntese.
Processen foregår oppe i hovedet på historikeren, hvor Erslev mener, det foregår i Rigsarkivet og Arup i sien. Kilderne bruges som begrundelser for svar (papir med blæk på og er ikke noget i sig selv).
Det fuktionelle kildebrgreb, de bliver til noget, når vi bruger dem til noget. Holde fast i, at spiralen skal styres - balance mellem objektivitet/subjektivitet. Arbejder med et erkendende objekt - en erkendelsesproces. Gøre det mulit at kunne erkende så meget som muligt. Tilstræbe at være så objektiv som muligt. Kan man erkende, at man skal erkende. Vi skal bruge dette til at blive bedre ttil at spørge og bedre til at argumentere. Kildekritikken er blevet en lære om gode argumenter. Hvad er (u)holdbare argumenter i historiediskussionen. > (Cited from: http://www.jenschristian.dk/noter/kil-met.htm)

Thurén, Torsten. (1997). Källkritik. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.

Wikipedia. The free encyclopedia. Source criticism. (Retrieved 2008-07-29). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_criticism



Links


The Library of Congress's Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program http://www.loc.gov/teachers/tps/about/



See Also


History - - - Checklists for Internet sources - - - Fraud - - - Criticism



Entry Added: July 29, 2008
Last Update: October 23, 2008