30th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies
Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City: March 27-28, 2010

Johnny Grandjean Gøgsig Jakobsen, "Digitizing Medieval Danish Society"

One of the major new directions in historical studies all over the world is based on a new technological tool for registrations, analyses and presentations: G.I.S., Geographical Information Systems. Archaeologists and historical geographers have for some years already made good use of the possibilities in this computer technology, and gradually also more and more historians have begun to use digitized data.

Until now, G.I.S.-based studies of medieval Scandinavia have only taken shape of individual studies, but the true value of using G.I.S. in history begins when data registered by one scholar can be used by other scholars as well. In Denmark, a scholarly and interdisciplinary network of HisKIS (Historical-Cartographical Information Systems) is collecting and exchanging digitalizations of historical maps and geo-data, and a new ambitious project called DigDag (Digitalization of Denmark’s Historical-Administrative Units), funded by the Danish Research Council, will give access to digital maps of various kinds of administrative borders and units in Denmark from present day and back to the Middle Ages, e.g. of the medieval parish structure, rural as well as urban.

In my paper, I wish to present the current “Stand der Forschung” within historical digitalization in Denmark, giving a number of examples on how such digitalizations have been used in medieval studies so far, especially within the mechanics of Christianization, settlement patterns and social stratifications, and show how such studies have both challenged and expanded the traditional interpretations in their respective areas.

 

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