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Speculative Web Space

Digital Mapping Select Bibliography

This small, incomplete bibliography of references related to digital maps is far from exhaustive and aims only to provide an indication of topics in the field with examples and resources. To aid browsing, each reference is tagged with at least one of these keywords: exemplar, source, theory, technology and tool. Stanford University's A Spatial History Annotated Bibliography also provides a good selection of print references.

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Home > Bibliography > Bibliography: The Spatial Humanities: GIS And The Future Of Humanities Scholarship

"The power of GIS for the humanities lies in its ability to integrate information from a common location, regardless of format, and to visualize the results of combinations of transparent layers on a map of the geography shared by the data. Internet mapping has made this concept widely recognized and accessible, but this use of GIS only hints at its potential for the humanities. Scholars now have the tools to link quantitative, qualitative, and image data and to view them simultaneously and in relationship with each other in the spaces where they occur. But the technology currently requires that humanists fit their questions, data, and methods to the rigid parameters of the software, which implicitly are based on positivist assumptions about the world. We seek instead to conceptualize spatial humanities by critically engaging the technology and directing i to the subject matter of the humanities, taking what GIS offers in the way of tools while at the same time urging new agendas upon GIS that will shape it for richer collaborative engagements with the humanistic disciplines." pix


"To date, studies using GIS in historical and cultural studies have been disparate, application driven, and often tied to the somewhat more obvious use of GIS in census boundary delineation and map making. While not seeking to minimize the importance of such work, these studies have rarely addressed the broader, more fundamental issues that surround the introduction of a spatial technology such as GIS into the humanities... The humanities pose far greater epistemological and ontological issues that challenge the technology in a number of ways, from the imprecision and uncertainty of data to concepts of relative space, the use of time as an organizing principle, and the mutually constitutive relationship between time and space... In the context of the humanities, we seek to move GIS from this more limited quantitative representation of space to facilitate an understanding of place within time and the role that place occupies in humanities disciplines." px


"Spatio-temporal GIS, or the ability of GIS to handle space and time concurrently, also remains unresolved, which makes current technology difficult for time-based humanities studies." pxi


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