Thursday, May 06, 2010

Evaluating Sources

At History News Network, the Americanist Daniel Crofts writes a fascinating piece about one of the methodological challenges of the trade: how to assess the authenticity of an anonymous and quite possibly fraudulent diary full of potentially valuable insights into an important historical moment. It was indeed composed after the fact, he concludes, and many of its conversations are more-or-less invented, but it's a useful source nonetheless.

Never really had to do this myself, but I've had my spidey-sense tingling once in a while -- could this be a fake? Never yielded to the temptation to create a fake either... but I can see the attraction.
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