The digital humanities is an interdisciplinary area of research involving the application of computational methods to humanistic topics of inquiry. Digital humanities projects range widely in scale and technologies. A simple project may involve marking up a set of documents according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) schema or plotting historical events on a map. A larger project may describe a complex digital object using the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) or generate metadata for an archival collection using crowdsourcing tools. Large-scale projects in the digital humanities may utilize "big data" concepts like MapReduce in combination with statistical programming languages to analyze massive datasets of literary texts.
What unites the digital humanities is not specific technologies but a critical, humanistic approach to digitally-enabled research. There is a growing community of digital humanists across Vanderbilt. The Heard Library is committed to fostering the digital humanities at Vanderbilt by providing consultant expertise, including advice about the selection of metadata standards, programming languages, and platforms. We'll also help you connect with other researchers on campus working on similar projects and make sure you make the best use of available campus resources.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable users to create, combine, and analyze geocoded data—that is, information connected in some manner to geographic coordinates. GIS tools range from simple and lightweight applications to extremely powerful and complicated suites of software.
Whether you would like to create a spatio-temporal exploration of historical events, embed an interactive map in a web-based project, or conduct a spatial analysis of research data, we can assist you with your project. Our GIS Coordinator will help you with identifying the right tool for your project—from Google Maps to ArcGIS.
The best place to get started is our Research Guide on support for Geographic Information Systems at the Jean and Alexander Heard Library.