Digital History seminar
Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to Explore Historical Texts: Examples from the Lake District and Census Reports
Ian Gregory (Lancaster)
20 November 2012, 5.15pm GMT
Room G37, Senate House or online on History SPOT
On Tuesday the Digital History seminar will be streaming live on the internet again. Here is the abstract:
Traditionally there has been a simple split in scholarship between social science approaches based on quantitative sources on the one hand, and humanities based approaches based on textual sources on the other. If you were interested in the former then IT had much to offer to help with your analysis, if however, you were interested the latter then IT offered little and you would instead stress the close reading of your texts. This cosy dichotomy is falling under threat because increasingly large volumes of texts are available in digital form and close reading is no longer a suitable approach for understanding all of the huge volumes of material that are now available. Unfortunately we know little about how to analyse texts in an IT environment in ways that are able to cope with both the large volumes of material – potentially stretching to billions of words – together with the traditional need within the humanities to stress detail and nuance. This paper presents some initial results from a European Research Council funded project Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Places that explores how Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology can be exploited to help us to understand the geographies within texts. It is based on two examples: one drawing on early literature from the Lake District, the other from a much larger collection of census and vital registration material drawn from the Histpop collection (www.histpop.org).
To listen to this live stream on Tuesday click here.
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Friday 30th November, 2012
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are becoming increasingly used by historians, archaeologists, literary scholars, classicists and others with an interest in humanities geographies. Take-up has been hampered by a lack of understanding of what GIS is and what it has to offer to these disciplines. This free workshop, sponsored by the European Research Council’s Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Placesproject and hosted by Lancaster University, will provide a basic introduction to GIS both as an approach to academic study and as a technology. Its key aims are: To establish why the use of GIS is important to the humanities; to stress the key abilities offered by GIS, particularly the capacity to integrate, analyse and visualise a wide range of data from many different types of sources; to show the pitfalls associated with GIS and thus encourage a more informed and subtle understanding
of the technology; and, to provide a basic overview of GIS software and data.
10:00 Welcome and Introductions
10:15 Session 1: Fundamentals of GIS from a humanities perspective.
11:45 Session 2: Case studies of the use of GIS in the humanities.
14:00 Session 3: Getting to grips with GIS software and data.
15:30 Roundtable discussion – going further with GIS.
Who should come?
The workshop is aimed at a broad audience including post-graduate or masters students,members of academic staff, curriculum and research managers, and holders of major grants and those intending to apply for major grants. Professionals in other relevant sectors interested in finding out about GIS applications are also welcome. This workshop is only intended as an introduction to GIS, so will suit novices or those who want to brush up previous experience. It does not include any hands-on use of software – this will be covered in later events to be held 11-12th April and 15-18th July 2013.
How much will it cost?
The workshop is free of charge. Lunch and refreshments are included. We do not provide accommodation but can recommend convenient hotels and B&Bs if required.
How do I apply?
Places are limited and priority will be given to those who apply early. As part of registering please include a brief description of your research interests and what you think you will gain from the workshop. This should not exceed 200 words.
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