History is the study of the past, particularly the written record of the human race, but more generally including scientific and archaeological discoveries about the past. Recently, there has been an increased interest in oral history, passed down from generation to generation. New technology, such as photography, sound recording, and motion pictures, now complement the written word in the historical record. The word history derives from the Greek ἱστορία (historia), "learning by inquiry" and that from ἱστορέω (historeō), "to examine, to observe, to inquire", in turn from ἵστωρ (histōr), "a wise man, and one who knows right, a judge". Academically, history is the field of research producing a continuous narrative and a systematic analysis of past events of importance to the human race. Those who study history as a profession are called historians.

All events that are remembered and preserved in some form (that cannot be invalidated as unhistorical or that otherwise remain amenable to historical discourse) constitute the historical record. The self-assigned task of historical discourse is to identify the sources which can contribute to the production of truthful accounts of past. Thus, the constitution of the historian's archive is a result of circumscribing a more general archive by invalidating the usage of certain texts and documents (by falsifying their claims to represent the 'true past').

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