Mapping the digital humanities

Visibility has become a synonym for representativeness in the digital era. This is a tricky idea and maps make us think that what we see in them IS the visible world, and not just A representation of it.

«Mapping the DH» sounds like a pretentious title: it is. This is not an exhaustive study, but a practical list of the projects I know have tried to offer a snapshot of different attempts to visualize the geolocation of the field.


One of the first initiatives to undertake the task of mapping the DH-work-places was CenterNet. It’s cool because it allows you to browse centres by regions, and there’s a small abstract of each working space, besides the CenterNet-Map in Google is pretty handy:

CenterNet in Gmaps
CenterNet in Gmaps

However it is important to note, as Élika Ortega pointed out in this post, that a method that only considers the «center-centric DH praxis» draws the wrong picture, since it forgets almost all DH practitioners in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries where this kind of dynamic is actually rare. Our attempt with MapaHD (a survey on Spanish and Portuguese DHers) was to make other practices visible, a task we thought necessary (cf. next image):

On the left: CenterNet Map. On the right: MapaHD by Élika Ortega

DH Projects in Germany

A great example of non-mainstream yet great practices is this map of the Digital Humanities Projects in Germany where you can explore both the physical location and the year they started thanks to the Geobrowser tool from DARIAH:



In MapaHD, Élika Ortega and I used this same tool to build our own cartography of the self-reported Spanish-Portuguese-speaking-digital-humanists. You can check the results and many other interesting graphs in our website

Humanistas Digitales in the World. Done with DARIAH's Geobrowser
Humanistas Digitales in the World. Done with DARIAH’s Geobrowser

Quantifying Digital Humanities

Another useful half mapping / half info-graphic is Melissa Terra’s «Quantifying Digital Humanities«, which offers a quick view of the state of art of DH’s in 2011, and it would be cool to have a new edition of this taking the considerations above in mind.

Physical DH Centers in the World. Done by @melissaterras

DH Events in Spain

Another modest attempt was this other map in which I combined the information Sagrario López and Álvaro Baraibar shared  about the DH events in Spain during the Spanish and Portuguese version of the DayofDH:

Mapa de las HD en España
*It is important to remember that DH in Spanish are not just done in spanish-speaking-countries as Élika Ortega points out in DíaHD/DíaDH

Defining Digital Humanities, a map of the contributors

Last but not least, I did a map of the Defining Digital Humanities authors’ affiliations. As a literature student it has always been very interesting to have a picture of where the voices I read come from and I did not make this map as a critique mostly because I respect the effort behind this book. After all, the problem of representativeness won’t be solved by just adding more dots in a map but by asking us why are this dots missing and, moreover, what we can do about it (Élika dixit)

Map of DDH authors' affiliations
Map of DDH authors’ affiliations

5 comentarios

  1. This is a great compilation of DH centers, and very illustrative of where DH is in 2014. Does this post only reflect groups with the phrase ‘digital humanities’ in the name? or, in other words, how does something ‘count’ as a DH center?

    • Dear Heather, first of all, thank you so much for taking the time of reading this post and leaving me a comment. About your question, I think I don’t quite understand what you mean. This is a recompilation of many maps I didn’t do myself, and all of them had different strategies, the only two that actually map the «DH-centers» are CenterNet and Melissa Terra’s «Quantifying…».
      As for the ones I did, I can say MapaHD is the cartography of the self-reported Spanish and Portuguese DH’ers, the map for Defining DH is of the author’s affiliations and the one with the Spanish DH events is of the ones mentioned by the two posts I quote.
      But maybe I didn’t understand what you meant, so please do write me again if this doesn’t give you the answer you were looking for 🙂

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