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Info Mapping

February 9, 2011

We are by now well into a phase of civilization when the terrain to be mapped, explored, and annexed is information space, and what’s mapped is not continents, regions, or acres but disciplines, ontologies, and concepts. We need representations in order to navigate this new world, and those representations need to be computable, because the computer mediates our access to this world, and those representations need to be produced at first-hand, by someone who knows the terrain. If, where the humanities should be represented, we in the humanities scrawl, or allow others to scrawl, »Here be dragons«, then we will have failed. We should not refuse to engage in representation simply because we feel no representation can do justice to all that we know or feel about our territory. That’s too fastidious. We ought to understand that maps are always schematic and simplified, but those qualities are what make them useful.

Prof. Dr. John Unsworth, University of Virginia, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, What is Humanities Computing and What is Not?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2011 12:05 am

    Thank you for this valuable link! I have been looking for something like this, and the tag surfer and you helped me find it. I am fascinated by the humanities and by various forms of mapping, organizing and sharing knowledge. I am also involved in computer programming, though my background is also in humanities, and am very interested in the Semantic Web and similar arguments. I have intuited that there is great potential for building tools for humanities with the use of computers, like ontologies etc., and that some day this might be very useful, maybe even to help build bridges between fields and people. I still hope so! This articles gives me clues on what to look for and where. Thank you so much.
    Greetings, Olja

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