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Sunday, April 1 • 2:45pm - 3:45pm
Urban Mapwork: Art, Libraries, and the City

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Moderator: Hannah Bennett, Princeton University.


Ruth Wallach, University of Southern California. “Collection building as a conduit for research”.

Leanne Hindmarch, Ontario Council of University Libraries/Marcel Fortin, University of Toronto. “Maps and Art: Map and GIS collections to support art research”.

Jesse Shapins, Harvard University.  “The city as Library”: mapping a media Aarchaeology of place through archives, databases and locative media”.

Ruth Wallach begins the discussion with her presentation regarding two levels at which our understanding of cities is affected.  At one level, popular comprehension of urban boundaries is altered by public art projects, which Wallach demonstrates by considering two cities, Los Angeles and Groningen, the Netherlands, and how each sought to define itself through specific art commissions.  At another level, by concentrating collection development on precisely such issues, Wallach explores ways in which libraries can become a foundation for targeted research serving a range of disciplines.

Leanne Hindmarch and Marcel Fortin continue this notion of interdisciplinarity with a chronology of the relationship between maps and artists and how that relationship has manifested itself in different forms or media over time, becoming its own concentration and challenge for the information professional.  They will share their experiences in working with studio artists who incorporate GIS and other geospatial technologies into their artwork, highlighting such work in the University of Toronto’s Digital Maps Collection.  Finally, Hindmarch and Fortin will situate the art librarian in the maps collection, offering ideas and tools to help them help others navigate map collections and related technologies. 

Such collaboration then veers into unexpected and exciting confluences in Jesse Shapins’s presentation on the field of media archaeology.  Specifically, Shapins theorizes how media archeology of place, that is, media of all forms and from all periods representing a city’s image, can synthesize and re-imagine a new and dynamic urban form.  This process hinges on the collaborative expertise of archivists, librarians, artists, and scholars, and is, as Shapins will show, quickly finding ground of its own within the larger digital humanities realm.  Drawing from such initiatives as Mapping Main Street or studio projects such as Mixed Reality City, Shapins demonstrates how this highly experimental field joins together traditional scholarly discourse and research methodologies with emerging digital technologies.

Sunday April 1, 2012 2:45pm - 3:45pm EDT
Sheraton Hall B Sheraton Centre

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