Practicum Reflection: Neatline and Humanities Mapping

I have to say creating a map with Neatline was extremely frustrating but did it did show me the value of spatial history.  I made a map of the prominent industrialists and financiers from the Gilded Age.  You can see my map by going to the following link Birth Locations of Major Gilded Age Figures

There were several difficulties I had using this tool.  I first tried to create a map in Google Chrome and the map did not show up.  After a while of playing with the settings I tried Apple’s Safari.  In this browser the map showed up but I could not save any of my new items.  After looking at the about us section and looking to see if there were any tips on the #ClioF12 twitter feed I finally ended up using Firefox.  I was finally successful in creating a map of the birthplaces of the major industrialists of the Gilded Age.  It was pretty fascinating because all of the people were born in the North except for Andrew Carnegie, who was born in Scotland.  Even more interesting was that most of the people were born in the state of New York.  This definitely shows that the North was more industrialized and really had more commercial power at this time compared to the south.    This experience led me to see the importance in usability in humanities digital history tools.  These website are probably not going to become hugely popular like Google so they are not going to be well known.  In addition, most of the people using them are probably going to be people in the humanities who are not computer experts.  This is why these sites should have clear instructions, be simple to use, and have visual orientations.  I believe other people looked to see if there was a YouTube instruction and could not find them.  This makes sense that a visual tool would have visual instructions.

I also used Google Earth to map important tourist sites in New York in preparation for a trip that my wife and I went on.  This was much easier and more intuitive to use.  It showed a good picture of the places we wanted to go to and the best route to take to be more efficient in seeing all the sites in the least amount of time.



Filed under US History

2 responses to “Practicum Reflection: Neatline and Humanities Mapping

  1. The information yielded by Neatline was intriguing, but the effort it took to get there was daunting. My experience with trying to make the tools work was similar (you were more successful!). I heartily agree with your comments about ease of use.

  2. Congrats on your success with Neatline! I think you accomplished more than the rest of us (or at least were more patient!).

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