The use of GIS technology for the humanities has opened up new avenues for visually exploring and asking questions of our nation's historical record. The potential to harness new knowledge with tools designed to capture and preserve geographic links to the artifacts of our past is within our grasp. This research explores the common information needs of a community of interest to achieve their goal of reconstructing the spatial circumstance of America's Colonial era and the information barriers they encounter. It envisions a suite of digital tools to help confidently join together the solitary efforts of dissimilar investigators to facilitate sharing, debate and long term preservation of their painstaking research.
The study described in this work examined the common information use behaviors of researchers whose goal is to reconstruct the missing geographic picture of British Colonial settlement in America. The scope of the analysis focuses on the work of two investigators who had constructed historic neighborhood maps of North Carolina's early backcountry settlements. Using a domain analytic approach it examines the resources and different tools employed by each investigator in comparison to the cataloged data provided by the North Carolina State Archives' online Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS). The results point to numerous barriers to information that could be overcome with the aid of standardized tools and a shared cyberinfrastructure. Envisioned is a suite of applications to enable a collaborative and authoritative reconstruction, over time, of the missing geographic picture of colonial America.
|Advisor:||Solomon, Paul, Barreau, Deborah|
|Commitee:||Dobbs, G. Rebecca, Gregory, Ian, Marciano, Richard|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Department:||Information & Library Science: Information Science|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American history, Geography, Information science|
|Keywords:||Colonial America, Database design, Digital humanities, Family history, Geographic information systems, Geography, Information use behavior, Parcel maps|
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