Jim Ambuske came to our class on Thursday and gave a very interesting presentation about the digital humanities and its relation to history scholarship. Jim started off by asking three big questiontions: (1) what is history, (2) what is/are (the) digital humanities, and (3) what is digital history.
Though, prior to jumping into this discussion Jim wanted to know how our visit to the scholars lab went last week as well as how things were going on our project. I really appreciated the fact that Jim was interested in us and our project enough to take the time to ask us how things were going. This brief preliminary conversation set the tone for the rest of his visit as friendly, genuine, and respectful.
After we explored the three big questions and attempted to come up with somewhat satisfactory answers, Jim turned our attention to spatial humanities projects, specifically mapping projects. Jim walked us through several examples of mapping technology and projects before taking us through a demonstration of Neatline. Neatline allows users to manipulate maps by layering other maps on top of them, adding timelines, inserting text and graphics, and much more.
After wrapping up our walk through of Neatline, which was the best part of my week, our group brainstormed how we could use the mapping technology we learned on our project. We came up with a few suggestions, including showing the geographic locations of the various writers that Tom Carter convinced to write for Shenandoah. Also, Neatline can be used as a plug in for Omeka, which was a tool that we probably will be using for our project.
I really enjoyed Jim’s talk and think that we not only learned a lot of really cool information but also that we expanded our understanding of DH and learned of the possibilities of adding mapping applications to our project.