Session 1: Mapping the Future of Digital Scholarship



Thursday, September 17, 2015 -
10:45am to 12:00pm


About This Session

Douglas Burns and Spencer Keralis, University of North Texas

Beyond the Map: Visualizing the Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Book Trade Directory

Spatial humanities and Geographic Information Systems-based interpretations of bibliographic data have become increasingly important in the field of Book History to illustrate distribution networks, exchanges of manuscripts, and reprinting and reproduction networks among book and newspaper publishers. Maps can provide compelling moments of visual storytelling derived from fairly simple data. But how can we constructively engage with more complex data that moves beyond simple bibliography and that pushes the limits of static mapping? How, for example, can we visualize the movement of printers and publishers over time, from location to location, and often from city to city? How can we effectively illustrate evolving relationships between printers and publishers? Or the rise and demise of regional print centers as transportation, resources, technology, and economics changed the landscape of print culture across the nineteenth century? In this paper we will attempt to address these questions using the rich and complex data in the American Antiquarian Society’s Nineteenth Century American Children’s Book Trade Directory. We will offer several examples of data visualizations derived from the data, and suggest the evidentiary value to future research these visualizations offer, and invite speculation about the potential for data visualization to help scholars address humanities questions at scale.

Katherine Hart Weimer, Rice University; Karl Grossner, Stanford University; and David J. Wrisley, American University of Beirut

Evaluating Peer Review Criteria: The Geo-Twist

The evaluation and impacts of digital humanities works, and defining their scholarly contributions is quite complex and hotly debated within many scholarly communities. Peer review criteria are being developed, including those recently published from DH Commons. GeoHumanities interactive scholarly works present numerous additional challenges in their evaluation, that is, spatially-inflected digital projects embody assumptions in their data and visual outputs that differentiate them from text-based research. A poster and pre-conference workshop at DH2015 was conducted as a community consultation designed to explore review criteria of GeoHumanities interactive scholarly works. “Supporting Peer-Review for GeoHumanities and Spatially-Inflected Projects” (Weimer and Wrisley) and “Exploring Peer Review in the GeoHumanities,” (Wrisley, Weimer and Grossner) addressed the issues surrounding peer review of digital humanities interactive scholarly works, specifically those in geohumanities. Workshop presenters prepared a criteria document, based on the DH Commons Review Guidelines, enhanced with criteria specific to geospatial works. Attendees reviewed pre-selected projects, working in small groups to test the draft criteria. Further community engagement is sought in order to enhance the draft document. By way of a paper or poster presentation at Digital Frontiers, the presenters will seek further input with a review the impetus, goals, draft criteria and outcomes of the DH2015 workshop.

Jeanette Claire Sewell, Houston Public Library and Brian Scott Riedel, Rice University

GIS and Civic Imagination

In 2014, the Houston Public Library was awarded a grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to create an interactive GIS website displaying 1,000 historically significant geocoded points representing significant landmarks and events in Houston’s history. Many of these points will be collected from digital archival material on the Houston Area Digital Archives at, while other data will be gathered from newly investigated archival material and community researchers. For example, some of the material gathered from community researchers includes the history of Houston’s Montrose neighborhood and how it came to be identified with LGBT communities. Archives in Houston hold LGBT publications from the 1950s and 1960s containing advertising for businesses located in the present day downtown area. By the mid- 1970s, sources show that the geographic focus of those businesses had shifted primarily to the Montrose area. The Houston Public Library’s GIS project provides a powerful tool to explore and re-imagine diverse histories in relation to physical space over time. This presentation will highlight the significant collaborative efforts between the Houston Public Library, the City of Houston GIS team, and community researchers. Jeanette Sewell, a librarian with Cataloging & Metadata Services at the Houston Public Library, will present the innovative methods used to create this GIS project. Brian Scott Riedel, professor and assistant director of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University, will demonstrate some applications of the platform through the Montrose-related materials.

View the Presentation


Holly Dolan

  • Online Holds Manager
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Spencer D. C. Keralis

Dr. Spencer D. C. Keralis is Founder and Executive Director of Digital Frontiers. His writing has appeared in Book HistoryAmerican Periodicals, and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) report The Problem of Data.

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Jeanette Claire Sewell

  • Rice University
  • Fondren Library

Jeanette Sewell is Database & Metadata Management Coordinator with the Rice University Library.  Jeanette is a graduate of the University of North Texas, and she has presented for the Texas Library Association, Region 4 Education Service Center, and Amigos Library Services among others.

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Douglas Burns

  • UNT Libraries

Douglas Burns is the GIS Librarian for the UNT Libraries.

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David J. Wrisley

  • Associate Professor, American University of Beirut
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Karl Grossner

  • Stanford University Libraries

Digital Humanities Research Developer

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Katherine Hart Weimer

  • Rice University, Fondren Library

Katherine (Kathy) Hart Weimer is Head of the Kelley Center for Government Information, Data and Geospatial Services at Rice University’s Fondren Library.  Her research and professional interests are on GeoHumanities and related topics of spatial thinking, geo-information literacy, and gazetteer development.  Kathy obtained her BS from Texas A&M and MLIS from LSU.  Kathy was previously at Te

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Brian Scott Riedel

Brian Scott Riedel is a Professor in the Practice of Humanities and assistant director of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University.

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