NEH Grant allows Scholars’ Lab to Enhance Neatline Digital Mapping Program

In an article, “Mapping the Humanities,” UVA Today features the Scholars’ Lab and its innovative program Neatline—a digital platform that uses maps, timelines, and text to create multidimensional digital humanities projects. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Scholars’ Lab a grant of $324,554 for enhancements to Neatline.

According to English professor and Scholars’ Lab director Allison Booth, the program can be used not only to place the viewer within the sweep of historical time and space, but in the world of fiction as well. The same tool that allowed architectural historian Lisa Reilly and her students to reconstruct cultural changes in Mediterranean architecture over centuries for a project in her class “On Haj with Ibn Jubayr: Reconstructing the 12th-Century Mediterranean,” also allowed Booth’s graduate students to compare a fictional journey in Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad with a journey the author made in real life. “That project reconstructs the chronology in a way the book does not, so you learn something you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t had those maps,” Booth said.

The NEH money will help Scholars’ Lab expand Neatline’s abilities with mobile and touch screen technologies—“We could add more hands-on drawing features with a stylus or your finger,” said Manager of Research & Development Eric Rochester. In the future it may even be possible to create immersive experiences in virtual reality.

Read the full article: Mapping the Humanities (UVA Today, 8/26/2016)

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