Welcome to the 6th edition of VIS4DH — the Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities — which will take place as part of the IEEE VIS2021 conference, this year held in New Orleans, LA, USA. This year’s VIS4DH workshop will be held entirely virtually, as a consequence of current COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The VIS4DH workshop brings together researchers and practitioners from the fields of visualization and the humanities to discuss new research directions at the intersection of visualization and (digital) humanities research. Papers and invited talks from previous years can be found here.
The Politics of Scale
This year, VIS4DH will revolve around the topic of “scale”. Visualization is often celebrated as a method to facilitate the exploration and interpretation of “big data”. But is scale a relevant yardstick to measure and characterize the challenges connected to humanities research questions? Scholars have warned about the development and focus on large-scale digital infrastructures within the humanities (Van Zundert, 2012), suggesting that smaller datasets and lighter infrastructures could better support the needs of humanist researchers. Additionally, critical voices have pointed out the risk of reproducing assumptions about dominant cultures and groups while further marginalizing those who are less likely to be remembered. Data humanism has been proposed to highlight the creative potential of “small data” in terms of personal impact (Lupi, 2017). Choices of scale - in terms of data, tools, or teams - influence not only project outcomes but also research methods and processes. This year, we invite work to reflect on such choices, and to discuss related epistemological and research-political questions.
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Lupi, G. (2017). Data Humanism: The Revolutionary Future of Data Visualization. PrintMag. Online at: https://www.printmag.com/post/data-humanism-future-of-data-visualization
Van Zundert, J. (2012). If you build it, will we come? Large scale digital infrastructures as a dead end for digital humanities. Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, 165-186.