Source: Evidence Explained: “Citing History from Artifacts to Cyberspace”, third edition, by Elizabeth Shown Mills 2015
History still waits to be discovered. In courthouses and warehouses, town halls and rectories, dusty attics and ancient trunks, old records survive in every form imaginable.
Technology delivers other treasures. Websites and DVDs offer documents and relics in many digital formats. Audio files, podcasts, and blogs stream other insights into history. Libraries house fiche and film, reprints and revisions, translations and transcripts, alongside digital access to books and journals published previously in print.
History is everywhere. But history is not just a slew of records or a set of “facts”—and all sources are not created equal.
Historical records offer evidence, but their assertions may or may not be true. To judge what likely happened, we must understand those records. To analyze that evidence and decide what to believe, we also need certain facts about those records themselves.
Students, scholars, and curious sleuths all face the same questions:
- What details must we capture for each type of source, in order to understand it and properly interpret its evidence?
- How do we evaluate a record’s credibility—especially when its information conflicts with assertions made in other sources?
- How do we identify each source—not just so it can be found again, but so we and others can judge its reliability?
Evidence Explained guides us through a maze of sources not covered by other citation manuals—all kinds of original records, accessed through various media.
More than a thousand examples for U.S. and international documents demonstrate how to handle the quirks that stump us when we use those materials. Evidence Explained is the go-to guide for everyone who explores the past.