Visualizing Historical Data, and the Rise of "Digital Humanities""
All historians encounter them, at some point in their careers: Vast troves of data that are undeniably useful to history--but too complex to make narratively interesting. For Stanford's Richard White, an American historian, these were railroad freight tables. The reams of paper held a story about America, he knew. It just seemed impossible to tell it." Read more.
Humanities Scholars Shed New Light on the Past, Present, and Future of Environmental Change"Unless you peel back that past, you’d have no idea what was going on," Richard says, "Again and again, humanities research can bring up these hidden stories, which really become the explanations for environmental issues and social issues." Read more.
Google books may advance scholarly research"At Stanford University, for example, humanities professors are linking up with computer scientists to map a "Republic of Letters," illustrating the pathways between Paris, London and other cities traveled by letters written by intellectuals like Voltaire. Richard White, a Stanford history professor, is using 19th-century railroad freight rates to build database and computer graphics tools that illustrate how people's experience of space and time was reshaped by the coming of the railroads in the West." Read more.
Next History: Shaping the West"This site hosts a ongoing discussion about the use and potential use text-mining and analysis tools are and can play in enhancing historical research. The project is organized by the Center for History and New Media and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities." Read more.
Stanford Report: Stanford research shows Silicon Valley land conservation didn't hurt housing development"Developers in the San Francisco Bay Area have often blamed land conservation initiatives for limiting the region's housing supply and driving up real estate prices. But new research suggests land conservation has had a relatively small impact on development." Read more.
San Jose Mercury News: Big plans for a little butterfly"'How can we learn to be better managers of a world that is increasingly shaped by us?' asked history graduate student Jon Christensen, who is part of the team recommending the reintroduction. 'Only a carefully designed scientific experiment can tell us.'" Read more.
American Historical Association: What is Digital History? A Look at Some Exemplar Projects, May 2009"What happens when a senior scholar takes up digital tools to advance a new interpretation and help him or her understand the complex patterns they are seeing in their sources?" Read more.
The Stanford Daily: Researchers Visualize Complex Data, May 21, 2009"...Working in conjunction with the Spatial History Lab, the trio had set out to map correspondence during the Enlightenment between geographical locations, providing static, pie-chart and animated views that offered varying strengths for seeing connections and relationships across time and space." Read more.
Worldchanging: Spatial History and the Mannahatta Project, August 2008"...As we've discussed before, dealing with floods of data is not a situation unique to history, and historians are finding their way towards the same set of solutions that designers and scientists are moving towards: information visualization.The field has come to be known as spatial history, and there's an explosion of projects and tools in that field right now, lead by Stanford's Spatial History Project." Read more.
Stanford Magazine, Nov/Dec 2007"Historian Richard White always cringed at the standard geographer's lament that he and his colleagues approach history as if it occurred on the head of a pin. Now he's trying to do something about it." Read more.
Stanford Humanities Center Digital Initiatives: Spatial History"The overarching goal of the Spatial History Project is to create dynamic, interactive tools that can be used across the spectrum represented by these research projects — from economic and technological changes, to social and political changes, and changes in science and the environment — and bring them all together to enable the creation of new knowledge and understanding of historical change in space and time and the possibilities for our present and future that may be found in the past." Read more.