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.
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.
Several different ways of classifying history are given below.
Miscellaneous classifications, not necessarily part of academic history
A typical academic classification:
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