History is often used as a generic term for information about the past, e.g., as in "geologic history of the Earth". When used as a field of study, history refers to human history, which is the recorded past of human societies.
The term "history" comes from the Greek historia, "an account of one's inquiries," and shares that etymology with the English word story. It does not come from the word his, however some feminists have coined the term herstory to refer to history from a female perspective. (see non-sexist language)
Historians use many types of sources, including written or printed records, interviews (oral history), and archaeology. Different approaches may be more common in some periods than others, and the study of history has its fads and fashions (see historiography, the history of history). The events that occurred prior to human records are known as prehistory.
There is a very large amount of historical information available in Wikipedia, and several different ways of classifying it are given below.
|History classified by location:||History classified by date:|
Miscellaneous classifications, not necessarily part of academic history studies:
A typical academic classification:
A form of historical speculation known commonly as virtual history (also called "counterfactual history") been adopted by some historians as a means of assessing and exploring the possible outcomes if certain events had not occurred or had occurred in a different way to that which they did.
You may also want to see dubious historical resources and historical myths for a list of false beliefs and histories which were once or are now popular and widespread, but which are proven to be false or dubious.
See also pseudohistory for more about uncritical history.
A guideline for contributions to Wikipedia in the field of history can be found at Wikipedia History standards.
For a discussion of NPOV and history in this context see also: Can history be truly NPOV?