"We haven't located us yet": the intersection of spatial digital humanities and libraries

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  • If the 19th century was witness to a shift in awareness of time as a concept, and the 20th century revealed awareness in the power of language, then the 21st century will be characterized by keen spatial awareness. Despite the assumption that space would become insignificant in the digital age, space is arguably even more important in our daily lives now. As a result, humanists are increasingly studying spatial relationships in print, visual and digital culture and media. Yet can all of this enthusiasm for space be credited to GoogleMaps alone? This presentation traces the history of spatial awareness from the Enlightenment onward, and suggests that a new critical language for the study of space has resulted. Furthermore, it examines the current manifestation of this geospatial awareness in the digital humanities by analyzing the emerging “library-DH Lab” model as seen in major research institutions such as the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Stanford, and University of Virginia. The implications of the spatial turn in the humanities include the methodological challenges of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of space, the shaping of subjectivity, and the central role that metaphor plays in the DH discourse. These implications extend to the intersection of libraries and digital humanities research as well: in tangible environments such as the DH Labs, in the growing interest in libraries as a spaces, and other geo-locative initiatives like web and mobile applications within libraries.

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  • Type of Item
    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International