“Appraisal” is very important for the historian, when she/he is confronted with a lot of search results. The researchers must find the means to reduce the large number of results produced by a library catalogue or archival database. To reduce the search results, Sternfeld names 2 different concepts, the concept of “scale” and the concept of “appraisal”.

The concept of “appraisal” comes from the archival environment, where it is called “archival appraisal”. There the process of appraisal involves whether a source should be filed (when it has a certain value) or if it should be destroyed (when it has no value for further use).

In another sense we could say that the concept of “appraisal” is not very new, because historians have used it since World War II with the large mass of sources available, but due to the digitization of the sources and web access all around the world, the concept becomes more and more important for the historian and her/his work.


Sternfeld, Joshua, Historical Understanding in the Quantum Age, in: Journal of Digital Humanities, URL: (Seite konsultiert am 5. März 2016).

What is appraisal?, in: A The National Archives, URL: (Seite konsultiert am 5. März 2016).

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