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Digital humanities tool developed to help scholars

Virginia, US: Researchers from Scholars’ Lab at the University of Virginia created a new digital humanities tool, Neatline, which aims to help humanities scholars across disciplines. The new tool allows scholars to merge maps, timelines, archives and artifacts to create online narratives about everything from H.P. Lovecraft to Civil War battles debuted at the University of Virginia.

Neatline is a digital toolkit for scholars who want to use maps and timelines to tell stories and make arguments about their subjects, said Web applications specialist David McClure, who helped build Neatline. “The goal is to help scholars do really creative work,” McClure added.

Because using Neatline doesn’t require the large geographic data sets often associated with map-based digital humanities projects, it allows scholars from nearly any field in the humanities to do map-based work, he explained.

In one example built to demonstrate Neatline’s capabilities, Scholars’ Lab staff used maps of the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville drawn by Jedidiah Hotchkiss, Stonewall Jackson’s cartographer. The maps are part of the Hotchkiss collection housed in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

In the Battle of Chancellorsville exhibit, Hotckiss’ battlefield maps are imposed over a modern map of the battlefield area.

Major elements of the battle are graphically represented on the maps, and users can click on them for pop-up descriptions of troop advances and other developments. A timeline at the top of the page moves through the three days of the battle, and the events depicted on the map change accordingly for each day.

Source: UVa Today