[Humanist] 26.976 pubs: visualization for history cfp

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Apr 19 10:38:19 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 976.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 11:24:09 +0200
        From: Enrico Natale <enrico.natale at infoclio.ch>
        Subject: CfP: Showing History. Data visualization between theory and practice

Dear all, please find here below a call for paper from the Swiss Association for History and Computing: 

The visualization of data in the Humanities, after its first rise in the 1960’s along with quantitative history and its subsequent fall in the 1970’s, has undergone a renaissance over the past few years,. While classical, static charts still have a place, new ways of presenting data are increasingly being experimented, such as network visualizations, cartography, lexicometry (e.g. Google Ngrams), or even dynamic multi-medial graphs, to name a few. Various factors accelerate these developments. Easy-to-use visualization softwares together with the increase in computing capacity made once complex quantitative methods and visualization tools available for almost every researcher. Standardized and open data is more and more available and connected. An expanding set of material, including historical sources, is digitized and can be processed by automated methods.

Yet, there have only been some light reflections about how these new forms can be used in historical research and what methodological consequences they entail. Researchers face various challenges when using these new visualizations. What is the data that can be shown? What are advantages and drawbacks of the various data sets and tools available? What sources should historians use for producing their own data sets? Are there any best practices for extracting, preparing and presenting quantitative data and its visualization?

Beyond these important methodological reflections, historians may want to ask larger questions about the significance of those tools. How do data visualizations relate to the surrounding text? Are they merely a way to illustrate the classical textual narrative, and make it more appealing? Or do they constitute a new form of narration? What is the scientific gain from presenting data visually? What can the researcher reveal that cannot be shown otherwise? How does the comeback of these practices affect the historical sciences more generally?

Finally, discussions surrounding data visualization sometimes forget their own historical dimension. Some forms of presenting data, such as maps or timelines, have obviously existed for many centuries. Others can also be traced back at least to the early modern Europe. How and why did these graphical forms appear and evolve? What role did they play for knowledge and science? Are there lessons to be drawn from this history?

The next issue of the journal of the Swiss Association for History and Computing, Geschichte und Informatik, will be centered around those questions. The editors would welcome proposals on the following topics:

Historical research using data visualization techniques, for example:
Cartography (including, but not limited to Geographical Information System)
Network analysis and visualization
Language analysis, lexicometry
Statistical visualizations (line charts, scatter plots, etc)

Methodological reflections on data visualization:
Data production and preparation
Choice of statistical methods (e.g. algorithms)
Choice of tools, problems of creating the visualization
Presenting the data and visualization

Theoretical reflections on the significance of data visualization:
Advantages and disadvantages for historical research
Influence on research questions
Consequences for historical narration

History of visual representations:
Historical evolution of various forms (maps, timelines, line charts, scatter plots,
networks, etc)
History of digital forms of visualization
Place of data visualizations in the history of science

Proposals (abstract of max. 400 words) and a short CV should be submitted by email to info at ahc-ch.ch till the 30st of May 2013.

Nicolas Chachereau (UNIL) <nicolas.chachereau at unil.ch>, Enrico Natale (infoclio.ch) <enrico.natale at infoclio.ch>, Christiane Sibille (dodis.ch) <christiane.sibille at dodis.ch>, Patrick Kammerer (UZH) <pka at fsw.uzh.ch>, Manuel Hiestand (UZH) <hiestand at fsw.uzh.ch>.

Enrico Natale
Hirschengraben 11
Postfach 6811
3001 Bern
Tel: +41 31 311 75 72

Digital Humanities Summer School, 
University of Bern, 26-29 june 2013.

New: compas.infoclio.ch
New: rousseauonline.ch

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