Operating at the cutting edge of digital humanities, the application, effectiveness and refinement of the ‘Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment’ project’s methodologies, techniques and conceptual approaches themselves constitute a laboratory for ongoing study, analysis and reflection.
The strand of the project (which is led by Dr Rachel Hendery) directly confronts a range of problems central to the digital humanities:
- What are the most effective means to gather, record, represent and compensate for incomplete, partial, complex or uneven data in a digital environment and within the humanities domain?
- How can we best deal with and represent uncertainty and probabilities?
- How can we maintain the integrity of data drawn from multiple or conflicting sources?
- When and how can mapping and other visualisation processes most effectively facilitate analysis of geo-temporal data?
- What techniques of data annotation, interrogation and mining add most value to the data?
- What are the conceptual and methodological limitations of all these techniques?
- What lessons can we glean from them about ‘best-practice’ when handling other complex or ‘big’ data or crowd sourced academic projects?
By addressing such questions directly, within the context of one of the most intricate digital humanities projects yet devised, the ‘Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment’ team hope to make a lasting conceptual contribution to this emerging research field.