18.766 digital microhistory

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 08:37:16 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 766.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 04 May 2005 08:16:03 +0100
         From: Martyn Jessop <martyn.jessop_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: Re: 18.756 digital microhistory


I've also been thinking along similar lines to Stan Ruecker and have
found some possible ways forward.

I've worked with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) on and off
for a few years and have I believe that they have great potential
value if you stop thinking of them having anything to do with maps or

What a GIS 'really' is is a means of constructing diagrams from
assorted graphical elements (shapes, lines, symbols, text and images)
that are stored in a database. Many of those graphical elements are
also generated from numeric data. The GIS interface allows the user
to determine the precise nature of the information displayed. The
applications of this approach go way beyond plotting maps.

Useful tools are also built into a GIS. Methods of changing the
content that is displayed at different levels of zoom are available
and have great potential.

All the functionality to do what Stan suggests is there. It all
sounds wonderful but the drawback is that GIS software is unwieldy
and has an enormous amount of features that are of little or no
interest to us and is phenomenally expensive.

What I am doing at King's in CCH is trying to tease out the
concepts and methods that are useful and build them into our projects
as and when I can. Ideally I'd like to build a general purpose
humanities diagramming utility but as always its a question of money
and time.


Martyn Jessop

Martyn Jessop
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS

email: martyn.jessop_at_kcl.ac.uk
Phone: 0171-848-2470
Fax: 0171-848-2980
Received on Wed May 04 2005 - 03:54:21 EDT

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