August 17, 2013 § Leave a comment
A few days back, I tweeted about the Racial Dotmap, a really cool GIS project by Dustin Cable of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at UVa. The map shows the distribution (down to the block level) of US population by race according to the 2010 census. There’s a fuller explanation on the Cooper Center’s site.
The map is fascinating stuff — I lost most of a morning browsing around it. Really, you should check it out. To give you an idea of what you’ll find, here are a couple of screen grabs:
The eastern US (click for live version):
South Bend, Indiana (with Notre Dame). Not clickable, alas, but you can find it from the main map:
One of the things that’s especially appealing about the project is how open it is. The code is posted on GitHub and the underlying data comes from the National Historical Geographic Information System. That fact, along with a suggestion by Nathan Yau of FlowingData, made me wonder how much effort would be involved in creating a version of the map that would allow users to move between historical censuses. It would be really helpful to have an analogous picture for the nineteenth century as I work on the evolution of literary geography during that period.
If I were cooler than I am, this would be where I’d reveal that I had, in fact, created such a thing. I am not that cool. But I wanted to flag the possibility for future use by me or my students or anyone else who might be so inclined. I’m thinking of at least looking into this as a group project for the next iteration of my DH seminar.
I can imagine two big difficulties straight away:
- You’d need to have historical geo data, particularly block- or tract-level shapefiles. I have no idea how much the census blocks have changed over time nor whether such historical shapefiles exist. Seems like they should, but …
- You’d need the historical census info to be tabulated and available in a way that allows it to be dropped into the existing code or translated into an analogous form. I haven’t looked at that data, so I don’t know how much work would be involved.
Anyway, the Racial Dotmap is a great project to which I hope to be able to return in the future. In the meantime, enjoy!
May 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
A regrettably post facto — but no less enthusiastic — note that Beth Plale and Yiming Sun from the HathiTrust Research Center were on campus earlier this month to discuss recent developments at the HTRC. My colleague Eric Morgan posted a write-up of the event.
Hoping to build on our conversation with more collaboration in the future!
April 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
Matthew Sag, Associate Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago, will be visiting Notre Dame this Friday (4/12) to give a lunchtime talk on copyright, text analysis, and the legal issues involved in digital humanities research. (Practical details below.)
Professor Sag has written widely on intellectual property law and was the lead author of an influential amicus brief in the recent HathiTrust case that cleared the way for “nonconsumptive” computational use of large digital archives. He’s an important thinker doing work in an area of law that touches more of us in the humanities every day.
All are welcome; hope you can join us. Light lunch will be served. Please do feel free to pass along word to anyone who might be interested!
Professor Sag’s visit is sponsored by the Notre Dame Working Group on Computational Methods in the Humanities and Sciences with generous support from the Office of the Provost.
- Who: Matthew Sag (Loyola University Chicago School of Law)
- What: A talk on — and discussion of — copyright and humanities research
- Where: LaFortune Gold Room (3rd floor; campus map)
- When: Friday, April 12, 11:45 am – 1:00 pm