David Rumsey to open DH2011

We are thrilled to announce that the DH2011 opening keynote will be given by David Rumsey, a renowned collector of historical maps, digital librarian, online publisher, builder, and philanthropist. Rumsey’s lecture in Dinkelspiel Auditorium at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, is free and open to the public.

Rumsey’s lecture is titled Reading Historical Maps Digitally: How Spatial Technologies Can Enable Close, Distant and Dynamic Interpretations and here is its abstract:

Maps are dense, complex information systems arranged spatially. While they share similarities with other visual artifacts, their uniqueness as spatially arranged visual information both allows for and demands special digital approaches to understand and reuse their content. Georeferencing, vectorization, virtual reality, image databases, and GIS-related tools all work to unite our eyes, minds, and computers in new ways that can make historical maps more valuable and accessible to humanists concerned with place and space over time. Rumsey will explore the tools and techniques that have implications for the ways digital humanists approach visual information.


David Rumsey’s collection of more than 150,000 maps is one of the largest private map collections in the United States, and he recently announced his intention to donate it to the Stanford University Libraries for long-term preservation and scholarly access. With his growing online collection of more than 26,000 maps, available to all in high resolution and with expert cataloging, Rumsey is one of the most visible and important modern distributors of historical treasures for the common good, a pioneer Internet philanthropist, and a public Internet intellectual. Visit the David Rumsey Map Collection online at http://www.davidrumsey.com/.

With his experimental approaches to GIS and historic maps, his innovative use of virtual worlds for purveyance of serious scholarly materials, and his outspoken and concrete actions toward the building of a real public digital library, David Rumsey is a rare and exemplary figure of antiquarian in the digital world, and entrepeneur in the academy. Please join us for what is sure to be a stimulating and stunning opener for DH2011.

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