HistoInformatics: Computational Approaches to History


Traditionally, historical research is based on the hermeneutic investigation of preserved records and artifacts to provide a reliable account of the past and to discuss different hypotheses. Alongside this hermeneutic approach, historians have always been interested to translate primary sources into data and use methods, often borrowed from the social sciences, to analyze them. A new wealth of digitized historical documents have however opened up completely new challenges for the computer-assisted analysis of e.g. large text or image corpora. Historians can greatly benefit from the advances of computer and information sciences which are dedicated to the processing, organization, and analysis of such data. Also, new computational techniques can be applied to help verify and validate historical assumptions. We call this approach HistoInformatics, analogous to BioInformatics and ChemoInformatics which have respectively proposed new research trends in biology and chemistry. The main topics included in HistoInformatics are (1) the support for historical research and analysis in general through the application of computer science theories or technologies, (2) the analysis and re-use of historical texts, (3) the visualization of historical data, and (4) the provision of access to historical knowledge.

Special issue at JDMDH

The special issue of Computational Approaches to History (HistoInformatics) at JDMDH invites papers from a wide range of computer science topics which are of relevance for history, the cultural heritage sector and the humanities in general.

The guest editors of the 2020 special issue are:

  • Melvin Wevers (DH LAB, KNAW Humanities Cluster, The Netherlands)
  • Mohammed Hasanuzzaman (Cork Institute of Technology, ADAPT Centre, Ireland)
  • Gaël Dias (University of Caen Normandy, GREYC CNRS, France)
  • Adam Jatowt (Kyoto University, Japan)

Themes and Topics

We particularly invite submissions of original research papers on the following and related topics (but not limited to):

  • Natural language processing and text analytics applied to historical documents
  • Analysis of longitudinal document collections
  • Time Series Analysis and Survival Analysis
  • Search and retrieval in document archives and historical collections, associative search
  • Causal relationship discovery based on historical resources
  • Named entity recognition and disambiguation
  • Entity relationship extraction, detecting and resolving historical references in text
  • Finding analogical entities over time
  • Network Analysis
  • Computational linguistics for old texts
  • Analysis of language change over time
  • Modelling evolution of entities and relationships over time
  • Automatic multimedia document dating
  • Simulating and recreating the past course of actions, social relations, motivations, figurations
  • Handling uncertain and fragmentary text and image data
  • Mining Wikipedia for historical data
  • OCR and transcription old texts
  • Effective interfaces for searching, browsing or visualizing historical data collections
  • Studies on collective memory
  • Studying and modeling forgetting and remembering processes
  • Estimating credibility of historical findings
  • Epistemologies in the Humanities and Computer Science
  • Computer Vision applied to historical image collections

Important Dates

The expected time schedule for the 2020 call for papers is the following:

Due to the covid-19 situation, deadlines have been postponed to take into account the work overload of the reviewers. 

  • New Submission deadline: (January 31st, 2020) February 14th, 2020
  • First notification of acceptance: (April 17th, 2020) April 24th, 2020
  • Deadline for revised versions: May 15th, 2020
  • Notification of acceptance of revised versions: (June 19th 2020) July 3rd, 2020
  • 2nd round of notification of acceptance of revised versions: (September 7th, 2020) September 11th, 2020
  • Deadline for the camera-ready version: September 21st, 2020



Submission guidelines are listed below:

  • Papers should contain at least 15 pages (at most 25 pages) and present original unpublished work
  • Papers need to be formatted according the JDMDH templates
  • Papers should not have been submitted for publication elsewhere
  • Papers do not need to be anonymized
  • The overall editorial policy of the JDMDH is available here

How to Submit

In order to submit your contribution please follow the instructions of the JDMDH journal. It is a two-step submission process:

  1. Submit your paper to an open access repository (e.g. arXiv, HAL) that will provide you with a document identifier.
  2. Go to the Journal website, click on Submit an article. You will be asked to select the repository you have chosen before you type in your document identifier.


For any further information, please send an email to the coordinators of the special issue at jdmdh.histoinformatics@gmail.com.


Volume (list of articles)