New article in the JMGL


The Journal of Map & Geography Libraries: Advances in Geospatial Information, Collections & Archives has published a new article about MapScholar.  Written by MapScholar developers S. Max Edelson and Bill Ferster, “MapScholar: A Web Tool for Publishing Interactive Cartographic Collections” describes the origins of the project and especially its relevance for the new “spatial turn” in humanities research.

Abstract: MapScholar is an open-source Web tool that encourages humanities researchers to gather, analyze, and share images of historical maps. It is designed to open access to map images, visualize maps as collections within rich geospatial contexts, and enhance traditional publishing by making it easy to produce interactive, high-resolution map displays. Despite its enormous potential, map history has always been limited by the challenges of reproducing dense images printed and drawn on fragile paper artifacts. MapScholar capitalizes on the increasing availability of digital images to foster breakthroughs in map analysis and interpretation. By enabling any scholar to create an interactive digital map collection that can be “published” to illustrate a book or article, this new digital humanities tool seeks to put maps at the center of the new spatial turn in the humanities.

Library of Congress lecture first to feature MapScholar

University of Virginia history professor S. Max Edelson presented a collection of maps of the North American Indian boundary to illustrate a lecture to the Washington Map Society on March 28, 2013.  This first public demonstration of the redesigned “MapScholar 2.0″ showcased the three-dimensional navigational tools of Google Earth as well as a variety of kml overlays that highlighted map details and put them into context.  To show the collection of published and manuscript maps of the North American frontier in the 1750s, 1760s, and 1770s, Edelson programmed a series of views of the maps that he advanced, in Powerpoint fashion, with a remote control “clicker.”