[Humanist] 25.369 GIS projects

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Oct 13 07:21:45 CEST 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 369.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Moacir <moacir at uchicago.edu>                              (32)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.365 GIS projects

  [2]   From:    "Nowviskie, Bethany (bpn2f)"                              (13)
                <bpn2f at eservices.virginia.edu>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.365 GIS projects

        Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 11:05:11 +0200
        From: Moacir <moacir at uchicago.edu>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.365 GIS projects
        In-Reply-To: <20111012064801.DAC201D1951 at woodward.joyent.us>

Victoria Szabo <victoria.szabo at duke.edu> wrote:

> I suspect some people don't feel such work falls within the purview of
> DH strictly speaking, either...

This was why I did not write in yesterday morning, and it's also
reflected in how Nicolaie phrased the question, asking about GIS
projects "in relation to Digital Humanities."

Is it possible that a humanistic project can incorporate a GIS yet not
be a DH project?

On the one hand, this seems absurd. Surely a GIS—reliant as it is on
(digital*) data collection, manipulation, and analysis—fits within
even the most restrictive definitions of DH?

On the other, my own project, which incorporates (but not centrally) a
GIS, certainly does not feel like a DH project—or even, necessarily, a
GIS project; I look at the Mapping the Lakes project, for example, a
shining instance of using a GIS in the humanities, and consider myself
doing something completely different, though with the same software.

But I doubt my own apprehensions are in line with the taxonomic divide
suggested above. Ideas?


* I suppose an "information system" need not be digital, though in GIS
school we were taught that the workstation, software, and database
were all necessary components of a GIS. But I've also not ever read a
single piece about using a GIS in the humanities, from the
introduction to the Bodenhamer et al. book on down, that did not refer
to the declining cost (in time and money) of computers and
software—and hence, of building and using a GIS—when explaining why
GISes were growing in the humanities.

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira
PhD Candidate, Dept. of English Language and Literature
University of Chicago
http://moacir.com/ | moacir at uchicago.edu

        Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 19:29:06 +0000
        From: "Nowviskie, Bethany (bpn2f)" <bpn2f at eservices.virginia.edu>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.365 GIS projects
        In-Reply-To: <20111012064801.DAC201D1951 at woodward.joyent.us>

Dear John and all --

We’d like to invite anyone interested in building an index of work in humanities GIS to contribute to the “Projects and Groups” or “Readings and Research” sections of the Spatial Humanities site Justin Tonra recently mentioned on Humanist:


The website was one outcome of a two-year, NEH-funded “Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship” held at the University of Virginia Library Scholars’ Lab. The bibliography sections of the Spatial Humanities site are Zotero-based, so anyone can join in and add content. Here’s how:


The site also features essays by Jo Guldi on the spatial turn across the disciplines, a peer-reviewed occasional publication of “Step by Step” tutorials, and GIS-related feeds from social media and Q&A sites, including DH Answers. Institute participants (who included approximately 75 humanities scholars, map and GIS librarians, and software developers) helped to define the needed sections of the site. Many were especially interested in the creation of a common and crowdsourced index of projects that could serve as inspiration and help define best practices in the field.


Bethany Nowviskie, MA Ed, Ph.D
Director, Digital Research & Scholarship, UVA Library
Associate Director, Scholarly Communication Institute
Vice President, Association for Computers & the Humanities
scholarslab.org/<http://scholarslab.org/> ● uvasci.org/<http://uvasci.org/> ● ach.org/<http://ach.org/>

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