Field Work

While growing digitalization efforts facilitate remote access, digital archives nonetheless remain bound by issues of translation, local politics, bureaucracies, and dated formats. Having unmediated access to such archives as well as to the archivists and librarians who organize, curate, and describe them remains a necessity for rigorous research. Focused field work involving travel makes it possible to identify and explore archives and repositories elsewhere; ask procedural questions regarding available data sets, their formats, and their coverage; and talk with librarians about the limitations to the range, validity and utility of pertinent data. In addition to the physical consultation of archival resources, the very geographic sites themselves require close scrutiny. Participants might, for example, document a historic site through sketching, photographs, GPS, or LiDAR technology; explore local archives holding historic maps and photographs of the site; consult with regional historians and scholars of the area; and meet with database administrators to get a better sense of what is available. Researchers may also wish to pay visits to, and network with, other Spatial Humanities Centers (e.g., the Spatial History Project at Stanford University, the Spatial Analysis Lab at University of Richmond, or the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University). Competitively-selected summer field work fellowships are, therefore, available to faculty and graduate students.