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Authors : J. B. "Jack" Owens, Laura Woodworth-Ney
Title: Envisioning a Master's Degree Program in Geographically-Integrated History
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
September 2005

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Source: Envisioning a Master's Degree Program in Geographically-Integrated History
J. B. "Jack" Owens, Laura Woodworth-Ney

vol. 8, no. 2, September 2005
Article Type: Article

Envisioning a Master's Degree Program in Geographically-Integrated History

J. B. "Jack" Owens

Department of History

Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho 83209, USA

Laura Woodworth-Ney

Department of History

Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho 83209, USA


The article presents the underlying vision of the master's degree program in Historical Resources Management that authors designed for the History Department of Idaho State University. The program has been approved by the State Board of Education of Idaho, and it is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2007. The authors envision a curriculum with a "spatial emphasis" that will graduate historians with strong traditional training and the capability of using digital techniques, particularly Geographic Information Systems or GIS, for their work. Because they can find no similar graduate program anywhere in the world, the authors want to present the program for the most general review possible by the history community.

.01 Introduction

In this article we present the Master of Arts in Historical Resources Management that Idaho's State Board of Education has approved. The History Department of Idaho State University will begin this master's degree program in the fall of 2007. We envision a curriculum with an emphasis on geographically-integrated history that will graduate historians with strong traditional training in history and the capability of using digital techniques, particularly Geographic Information Systems or GIS, for their work. [1] All students will participate in internship experiences that develop skills in the appropriate use of historical sources, critical thinking, collaboration, and written, oral, and visual communication. Strong preparation in the organization and analysis of complex historical data will enable graduates to compete successfully for a wide variety of jobs with state, national, and international businesses and educational, government, and private agencies and to strengthen K-12 and higher education teaching in an increasingly technological instructional environment.

Our program can be characterized as "geographically-integrated history" because students will learn to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related Information Technologies (IT) to manage historical resources of any type on the basis of time and location in standardized data formats. These resources can then be discovered quickly and utilized in whatever combinations seem appropriate to the user. This type of management of historical resources will permit the aggregation of data (for example, original written documents and photographs; digital text, image, and tabular data) for a particular place, thereby facilitating data exploration, enrichment of the context within which historical questions can be answered, and the linking of that place to other locations. [2]

Many examples exist of the kind of research our program will emphasize, including the North American Religions Atlas ( of The Polis Center (, Salem Witch Trials Archive (, the China Historical Geographic Information System (, and the International Dunhuang Project ( The resource page ( that accompanies this article provides links to these and other projects, and the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative ( lists hundreds of projects on its web site as affiliates. However, ours will be the only history master's program that we know of to use these research methods to train historians.

Despite the expansion of and demand for this kind of scholarly activity, we know of no current graduate program that could serve as a model. It is somewhat intimidating to develop a graduate program in an area without a critical mass of similar degree programs and a good bit of credibility at the instructional level, particularly since we are a small department at a geographically-isolated, provincial, state-funded university with a heavy responsibility for general education teaching and a service area the size of the state of Indiana. Although the department voted unanimously to propose this master's program to the university administration and the State Board of Education, some of our colleagues initially expressed reservations about what they saw as an overemphasis of technical skills. Still, we have, for the following reasons, pursued the creation of this innovative graduate program.

.02 Power of GIS

First, we are convinced that Geographic Information Systems and related Information Technologies (IT) provide an unrivaled means to explore, analyze, and visualize historical resources, the interactions among them, and their relationship to space and time; to catalogue, connect, and distribute historical resources on local and global scales; to develop public policy; to formulate questions for analysis; and to present the results of such work in response to research problems posed by individual researchers, community groups, public entities, and private institutions. Jack has been working since 1998 on using these applications to study the global Hispanic Monarchy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. [3]

GIS software was first developed to deal with complex environmental problems requiring the analysis of large numbers of variables. ESRI, one of the world's leaders in the production of GIS technology, was originally known as the Environmental Systems Research Institute, a name that was suppressed as more and more uses were developed for the software systems. A Geographic Information System (GIS) "digitally links locations and their attributes so that they can be displayed in maps and analyzed, whether by their geographical characteristics, such as location, distance, proximity, density, and dispersal, or by their attributes, such as social, economic, and physical characteristics." [4] The underlying concept of GIS can be understood by looking at one of the simple visual representations found on the ESRI web site, "What is GIS?" ( There one finds an image that shows three rectangular planes labeled, from highest to lowest, "Customers," "Buildings," and "Streets." These planes are suspended over something questionably labeled "Reality." The base should be called a "geodetic control" or "study index reference" because it is no less an abstraction of reality than are the planes suspended above it. Still, the image shows the ways that data can be organized and visually superimposed using GIS technology. [5]

Historians can make significant contributions to the application of GIS by challenging the assumptions underlying the conception of base reality represented in this slide and by pushing GIS software developers to adapt their products to our needs, particularly in terms of giving us better ways to deal with change through time. [6] Moreover, Information Technology specialists are currently seeking solutions for the management of information that does not fit easily into a tabular database, and in this area too historians will have an opportunity to take the lead in discovering ways to represent the degree of uncertainty caused by the variable, incomplete, and imprecise nature of the sources we use.

The ESRI diagram, mentioned above, demonstrates in a simplified form the nature of GIS. Once data are integrated into a Geographic Information System, it becomes much easier to recombine and disaggregate data, and to display selected features, than if the same information were only available in print form, as some sort of map or as one or more tables. Any GIS project creates a body of knowledge, which remains open-ended for correction and the inclusion of additional information and which can be used and accessed in multiple ways.

One of the principal things that distinguishes this master's degree program from many "public history" programs is the heavy emphasis on using digital technology to raise important historical questions and to analyze sources. In recent years the field of "historical GIS" has developed a set of common techniques to solve problems both geographic (spatial) and historical (temporal). [7] In part due to the influence of the Annales school, historians have increasingly recognized the importance of "place" for their research and teaching. [8] GIS technologies offer an unrivaled means to organize and search for data simultaneously on the basis of type of resource, period, and location (both of the production of the resource and its current location) and of turning the resulting database into a vehicle for data exploration, visualization, and presentation. The "data" involved could consist of relational databases of tabular data (including environmental data), digital images (of the built environment, objects, aerial and historic photographs, maps, manuscript documents, historic publications), transcriptions of documents, and audio and video materials. Because each item in a data set is georeferenced, meaning that its coordinates in latitude and longitude are provided, the data can be mapped, and a particular database, of Iraq's historical resources for example (, can be used in conjunction with other diverse types of database to see relationships and patterns that might not be easily evident in any other way. This form of data organization allows researchers to consider any historical resource within a comparative and/or global context and in relation to the natural environment. One can test the degree to which detailed case studies apply to larger regions, and any hypothesis that posits location as a key variable can be subjected to such comparative evaluation. Moreover, GIS enables the researcher to deal more effectively with complex, multivariate and multidimensional historical processes. [9]

Our graduate program will require students to master both historical studies and digital techniques appropriate for the master's level. Although the technology permits one to ask new questions about historical processes and develop powerful visual support for one's arguments, any answers come only from the analyst, not the digital tools. Therefore, historians must continue to master the existing techniques for using historical sources because the effective use of GIS requires substantial disciplinary knowledge. [10]

For admission to our master's program, candidates will have taken 18 semester credits of course work in history at the upper-division level and ISU's upper-division course Principles of Geographic Information Systems or its equivalent. Beyond the required core graduate courses, the master's students will take at least 12 credits of elective course work in history to ensure that they meet the program's goal of graduating students capable of using primary sources and understanding contemporary historiographical debates appropriate to the individual student's interests and goals. The core graduate courses, which must be completed before the internship begins, are:

Fall Semester

  • Geographic Information Systems in Historical Studies, 3 credits

    Description: Introduction to the use of GIS in historical studies. Detailed examination of major projects around the world, of handling uncertainty and fragmentary data, and of problems of interoperability in integrating data about a place and sharing data from different studies. Practice in using primary sources in conjunction with GIS and related Information Technologies and in creating and using geographically-integrated history databases.

  • Graduate Proseminar, 3 credits

    Description: Introduction to graduate studies. Focus on contemporary historiographical debates, with emphasis on those related to location and spatial relationships.

  • Cartography: History and Design, 3 credits

    Description: History of how map-makers represent geographic, spatial data. Special attention to the elements of successful cartographic design.

Spring Semester

  • Presentation of History Projects, 3 credits

    Description: Course on preparation of GIS-based modules for history courses and/or for presentations to professional audiences, administrative and political bodies, and the general public. Attention to the use of posters and the Internet. Stress on visual analysis and design.

  • Research Resources in History, 3 credits

    Description: Instruction in the discovery of funding sources for historical research and its application and in the writing of successful funding proposals. Practice drafting proposals for major government and private funding sources in the humanities, military, public health and human services, social and natural sciences, and technology sectors.

Geo-referenced, cartographic representations of reality are, of course, abstractions, and some historians will reject doing history in this way. They ignore, however, that, as David Staley has so forcefully argued, the articles and books written by historians are abstractions, which should be judged on the degree to which they increase our understanding of the real world. By its very nature, writing tends to push our narratives into linear, sequential, cause-and-effect accounts, which may badly distort multivariate and multidimensional historical processes. The advantage of GIS is that it permits the investigator to break with the one-dimensional representation of information from primary sources, characteristic of a reliance solely on written materials, by adding two- and, if necessary, three-dimensional formats for arranging and juxtaposing the data. [11] In this mode, GIS becomes a tool of thought, of exploration for patterns and relationships, and of analysis. [12]

.03 Civic Duty of Historians

The second factor that motivates us is our conviction that being a historian involves civic duty. Civic responsibility, intellectual honesty, and active participation are some of the central competencies that higher education should foster, as identified by the 2003 Association of American Colleges and Universities National Panel Report, Greater Expectations: A New Vision for Learning as a Nation Goes to College ( One of the best ways to meet the challenges of the 21st-century learning environment is to provide experiential learning opportunities that will allow students to apply academic knowledge to problems outside of the classroom.

Because ISU has never had a graduate program in history, for some time before presenting our design for this master's degree program to our department, we had been participating in GIS workshops and talking about how we could use some of what we discuss here to create a vibrant undergraduate academic community characterized by a collaborative learning environment. We want students to experience their involvement with history as a transformative learning process. Students could, for example, work together in teams to apply GIS technology and historical understanding to local municipal problems. Additionally, in recent assessments of our major program, department members expressed dissatisfaction with the general lack of thought some students show in selecting senior seminar projects, the common absence of enthusiasm for their research, and the analytical weaknesses of their papers. We feel that our ideas will help foster in our students unconventional thinking, creativity, and passionate engagement with historical studies, and that GIS-based visualization will provide students with a better understanding of topics involving location and connections over time and space.

We expect that this same vitality will characterize the master's degree program and that the presence of the master's students will enhance the motivation of upper-division undergraduates in history. The program will also provide training for student historians who wish to stay in the region but who do not want to teach, which should make continuing their study at the graduate level an attractive option for many of our undergraduates.

.04 Administrative "Entitlement" without Resources

Finally, and this is the third factor and the catalyst, key university administrators expressed interest in the development of a graduate program in history. However, with only six and a third FTE faculty members, leaving out of the calculation adjuncts and administrative roles, we are clearly too small a department to handle our heavy undergraduate teaching responsibilities and a traditional, thesis-based graduate program. In order to successfully add a graduate program, we will need to concentrate on one thing that we can do well, and we need to focus on internship experiences. Moreover, the concentration on a GIS-based program offers some significant opportunities.

We will need to take advantage of technical and instructional support from units outside of the History Department. Idaho State University has an excellent GIS Teaching and Research Center (, which is independent of any academic department and overseen by the university's Chief Research Officer. The Center's director and associate director are anxious to form teams with others. There are several instructional programs already in place or in development from which we can take pieces for our graduate program. In addition to a series of undergraduate GIS courses, the university added for graduates a certificate in Geotechnologies. The Department of Geosciences, which already has a more traditional graduate program in Geology, has won approval for an interdisciplinary Master of Science program in Geographical Information Science, and the Computer Information Systems Department of the College of Business has a fairly flexible minor program. Jack has been a member of the university's GIS Oversight Committee, which coordinates much of this activity. The problem is that all of this curricular thinking is directed toward students in Biology, Geosciences, Engineering, and Business, which means that many of the resulting courses are not appropriate for historians. However, we, along with ISU colleagues in Biology and Geosciences, are affiliates of the multi-university GeoSpatial Training and Analysis Cooperative or GeoSTAC (, which now also includes as an affiliate Kevin Marsh, our colleague in history, whose research focuses on forest management policy and the designation of wilderness areas. Kevin has assumed Jack's position on the GIS Oversight Committee. GeoSTAC has a special interest in the creation of instructional modules. These modules would present "short courses" on certain common technical matters, such as database design and spatial analysis, that can be inserted into our graduate courses when necessary. We believe that this format will allow us to devise coursework taught in other departments but appropriate for the needs of our students.

In most universities, these are dark economic times in which to start any additional program. Another advantage offered by GIS is that it opens up sources of potential external funding normally unavailable for historical studies. It is possible for us to discover these sources through the collaborative relationships fostered by ISU's GIS Center and GeoSTAC, but also because, after an application process to which we contributed, the university is now a member of UCGIS, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (

.05 External Constituencies

Relative to some other departments, the History Department's position in our university is weak because we lack an external constituency that could serve as an effective advocate for us with ISU's administration, the State Board of Education, and external funding sources. The internship program will allow us to build such a constituency. Some of the internships will be internal to the department, assisting with the research and teaching of history faculty members, or to the university, in the library or Idaho Museum of Natural History, for example. We foresee school internships to develop instructional materials to support the teaching of Idaho, U.S., European, and world history at various grade levels, perhaps involving collaboration with past or contemporary internship projects in non-school entities, such as museums. Other internship experiences might involve work with national and international agencies or with non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

However, because we feel that most students will complete their internships within ISU's large service area, we are discussing the creation of a research center. Because the state's historical society could no longer support the journal Idaho Yesterdays: The Journal of Idaho History (, it is now based at Idaho State University, and Laura is the editor. She and associate editor Jennifer Attebery, of ISU's American Studies program, created a regional vision for the journal that would also define the research center. "Because Idaho is a crossroads for at least four regions —the Northern Rockies, the Northern Great Plains, the Columbia Plateau, and the Great Basin— Idaho Yesterdays fosters connections that transcend state, national, and cultural boundaries." [13] It is within the context of a research center of this scope that we would organize a high percentage of the internship experiences. In addition to more obvious possibilities, these internships might involve working with appropriate institutions to produce historical data sets about commerce and production, land use, health care availability, military units, labor unions, and religious bodies. For our undergraduates, Laura has recently created a historic preservation internship program in conjunction with the Planning Department at the City of Pocatello, which will be open to future master's level students as well. Interns work with the Historic Preservation Commission, surveying properties and conducting research, and they need both a historical and technological background.

Some necessary work for many types of regional projects is already underway. The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries ( will provide one effective way to aggregate different types of information on the basis of location within the region. The boundaries for Wyoming have been compiled and are being digitized. Although not digitized yet, those for Nevada and Utah have been compiled, and work on those for Montana and Oregon is well advanced. Once Montana is done, the Atlas staff will begin working on Idaho's county boundaries. The National Historical Geographic Information System ( will eventually combine this type of information about administrative boundaries with census data.

However, the assembly of data in a GIS will allow researchers to redefine spatial relationships in ways that may be more appropriate for some historical subjects than political boundaries sometimes are. For example, commercial, kinship, and religious networks have frequently linked local communities and established spatial entities in the region whose patterns are substantially different from those of states and counties. [14] Because a GIS remains open for the accumulation of information, interns will be able to encourage local initiatives, which will have greater impact than is often the case now because the results can be connected to and integrated with those from other communities to facilitate comparison and thought about larger historical questions. Moreover, the cumulative results of this work will increasingly permit a greater appreciation of the complexity of history by melding diverse voices and stories and a wide variety of sources in a truly interdisciplinary program. Research within this sort of GIS framework will also permit historians better to connect their work with the formulation of policy, opening a wide spectrum of employment opportunities to graduates.

.06 Employment Opportunities

The experiential learning component of the program will prepare graduates for positions in a continually-changing employment environment and allow them to use the approaches they master for civic participation in an increasingly interlinked world. This outcome meets the second goal [the first was civic participation] of the Association of American Colleges and Universities panel report on higher education: to promote the practical aspects of liberal education. Indeed, our fourth reason to undertake this type of program is to enhance the employment possibilities of the graduates. It will provide students experience in collaboration, building effective teams, and digital communications, all areas that have traditionally not played a role in the training of historians but are fundamental for many GIS projects because there are so many different things that have to be learned. For those pre-service and current school teachers interested in geography and history, we will offer an exciting degree program, which will set them off in the profession as those capable of making innovative technical and instructional contributions at any level. This course of training will allow students to prepare themselves for the roles envisioned in standard "public history" programs, whether oriented toward historic preservation, archival and museum work, or maintaining an historic context for problem solving, planning, and policy formulation and assessment within government or corporate environments. For graduates seeking jobs in the public history area, the proposed course of study will provide much stronger training than anything now available, and it will meet directly the complaints of employers, recently exposed by an employer survey by the Task Force on Public History of the American Historical Association, that those graduating from most existing public history programs lack sufficient understanding of the use of primary sources and of the major contemporary debates in the secondary historical literature, and that they are often ill-prepared for collaborative work. [15]

The master's in Historical Resources Management, with its emphasis on GIS, would be the only program of its kind in the United States (and perhaps in the world). Although broader in scope than anything suggested by the term "public history," it would also be one of the few public history oriented programs in the interior West, which was our region of interest when we had to convince Idaho's Board of Education that there was a need for another graduate program. Other programs include Boise State University, which offers an "emphasis" only (, Arizona State University, which is the largest program in the United States and offers both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Public History (, and Washington State University, one of the oldest programs, which has offered an M.A. and Ph.D. since 1979 (

Our program includes several graduate courses that are unusual in the offerings of history departments. Students will receive an introduction to the use of GIS in historical studies, consisting of a detailed examination of major projects around the world, of handling uncertainty and fragmentary data, and of problems of interoperability in integrating data about a place and sharing data from different studies. They will get practice in using primary sources in conjunction with GIS and related Information Technologies and in creating and using geographically-integrated history databases. Because GIS permits historians to create striking visual presentations of their data and conclusions, students must master visual analysis and design. Therefore, the program will include both a course on cartographic history and design and one on the preparation of GIS-based modules for history courses and/or for presentations to professional audiences, administrative and political bodies, and the general public. The latter will pay attention to the use of posters and the Internet. [16]

.07 Conclusion

In conclusion, we feel that we have developed a graduate program that takes advantage of the unrivaled means of Geographic Information Systems to manage historical resources, for all sorts of administrative and research purposes, and which enhances the ability of our department and its graduates to respond well to their civic duty as historians. Moreover, the program allows us to respond to unfunded administrative entitlements in ways that compensate for the inadequate size of our department and widen our horizon for external funding. It also allows us to meet some of the challenges facing higher education and history departments, particularly the need to emphasize the "practicality" of the humanities and social sciences. And most importantly, this graduate program will enhance significantly the employment opportunities of our students.

.08 Notes

1. This article is based on our paper, "Envisioning a GIS-based master's degree program in history," which Laura presented during a panel sponsored by the American Association for History and Computing at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Washington, D.C., on 10 January 2004. Although our department still had not endorsed our design, we "went public" because we were seeking advice and potential external collaborators. We wish to thank all of those who helped and encouraged us at that time. We also thank Anne Kelly Knowles for her careful, thoughtful critique of an earlier version of this article. We have created a web page ( for those readers who are interested in seeing a fuller description of the program approved by Idaho's education board.

2. Our understanding of "geographically-integrated history" was shaped in part by the Organization of American Historian's publication in 2000 of the LaPietra Report: A Report to the Profession (, which constitutes a devastating attack on current instruction and its adequacy for providing students at all levels with the understanding of U.S. history they will need in the 21st century. The report's central point is that the history of any place has been profoundly shaped by the way that place is connected to other locations and the changes in the pattern of those interactions over time. Therefore, the authors argue, you cannot make sense of the history of the United States without taking into account the way that the country has been linked to other places in the world. The report's authors argue effectively for their general vision, but they let their readers down in the sections about implementing such a "globalized" U.S. history. We will teach our students how to deliver historical information (of whatever type; for example, original written documents and photographs; digital text, image, and tabular data) in a form that permits researchers and teachers to grasp in this "globalized" way the history of the U.S. or any other place, larger or smaller. Our proposed use of the technology likely goes beyond what many practitioners mean by the term "Historical GIS" and sometimes will not fit comfortably within Geographic Information Science, which focuses exclusively on spatial analysis.

3. Jack began this work in 1998 when ISU's Faculty Research Committee funded his proposal entitled, "Where in the world's history is Murcia?: A GIS analysis" (grant number 815), and he appreciates his colleagues' willingness to support an innovative research program. Jack learned about Geographic Information Systems through the kind guidance of Martin Lewis and Kären Wigen, authors of The Myth of Continents: A Critique of Metageography (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997). From this beginning, he has developed funding for work on a digital atlas of Spanish Roman Catholic devotional shrines and research on a sixteenth-century criminal cartel, the later supported by a summer stipend and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

4. Anne Kelly Knowles, Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History (Redlands, California: ESRI Press, 2002), xiv.

5. Readers who require a fuller discussion of GIS should consult two collections of articles: Foundations of Geographic Information Sciences, edited by Matt Duckham, Michael F. Goodchild, and Michael F. Worboys (London; New York: Taylor and Francis, 2003), and Spatially Integrated Social Science, edited by Michael F. Goodchild and Donald G. Janelle (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004). In the interest of full disclosure, we wish to mention that ISU's outstanding GIS Training and Research Center holds a site license for ESRI software. Therefore, all of our GIS training involved the use of ESRI's software products.

6. Perhaps the best known and most effective system for dealing with time in an historical GIS is that developed by the TimeMap Project (, and readers are encouraged to try TimeMap's excellent, free spatio-temporal browser. However, TimeMap works by moving through chronological slices, each created as a separate historical GIS of the same place for different periods. For some GIS visualizations, this approach may not offer sufficient flexibility. Information technologists are apparently about to provide historians with what we need to deal effectively with time as a variable in a GIS environment. At the end of March 2004, the Newberry Library in Chicago hosted a conference, "History and Geography: Assessing the Role of Geographical Information in Historical Scholarship" (, which dealt with the use of Geographic Information Systems in historical research. Michael Goodchild (, the Director of the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (, gave an unscheduled talk during the concluding discussion about a promising development. Using as his example a "Transportation Data Model" the Center is preparing under contract to ESRI, he explained that through the use of object-oriented programming, investigators can deal with events in space and time. The result is an "object-oriented GIS" in which the objects can be people, products, ideas, or anything else, which are mobile through time. This approach breaks with the static nature of current GIS analysis, about which a number of speakers at the meeting had complained in their presentations.

7. Knowles, xii.

8. A point also made by Myron P. Gutman, "Preface," in Past Time, Past Place, x. In order to underline this connection to the Annales, we will request that the university name one of the classrooms we have designed for GIS-based instruction in honor of the journal's co-founder Marc Bloch. Those unfamiliar with Bloch should visit the web site of L'Association Marc Bloch ( The site was recently opened in a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of Bloch's execution by Nazi troops on 16 June 1944.

9. In his award-wining 1998 book ReORIENT: Global Economy in the Asian Age (University of California Press), Andre Gunder Frank (1929-23 April 2005) attempted to demonstrate that in an interlinked world, the history of any location is profoundly shaped by the way it is linked to spatially-large, even global, processes, while at the same time, change at the local level inflected the course of large-scale change. He compared the kind of research that would have to be done to support his proposed multidimensional "holistic global theory and analysis" to a three-legged stool for which the supporting analyses would focus on (1) ecological, economic, and technological aspects, (2) political/military interactions, and (3) social, cultural, and ideological data. After presenting this breathtaking vision of how history should be understood, Frank admitted that he had no idea how to carry out such a complex analysis and retreated in the book to a concentration on the economic part of leg one and only a few world regions. Through the use of GIS, historians will be able to integrate multiple dimensions and variables in order to develop much more complex visions of history.

10. In their fascinating, highly technical article, "Agricultural History with GIS," Alastair W. Pearson and Peter Collier make a similar point; see Past Time, Past Place, 114.

11. David J. Staley, Computers, Visualization, and History: How New Technology Will Transform Our Understanding of the Past (Armonk, NY, USA: M. E. Sharpe, 2003). In order to understand better how the use of GIS permits a better grasp of historical complexity, visit the use page of The Valley of the Shadow ( and look at the relevant material in the introduction (intro) and documents (docs) sections of the China Historical GIS (

12. Mark Gahegan, associate director of the GeoVISTA Studio project at the Pennsylvania State University (, made this point especially well in his papers, "Seeing and Understanding Visual Display" and "Discovery," which he presented at the workshop "Map Making and the Visualization of Spatial Data in the Social Sciences" (22-26 July 2002) organized by the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS) of the University of California, Santa Barbara ( Some of these ideas can also be found in M. Gahegan and B. Brodaric, "Computational and Visual Support for Geographical Knowledge Construction: Filling in the gaps between exploration and explanation" (

13. The journal's other associate editor is Ronald Hatzenbuehler of ISU's history department. In the early 1970's, he was a pioneer in the use of computers in historical research.

14. As a framework for his research and teaching, Jack has conceptualized an "Ibero-Mundo Region" that encompassed all of the domains of Iberian Crown governments, which shared a common monarch in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ( These domains of the Crowns of Aragon, Castile, and Portugal constituted an important chunk of Europe and were spread around the world, which means that the study of this region provides a useful opening for research and teaching about the first global age.

15. Philip M. Katz, research director, AHA's Committee on Graduate Education and Committee on the Master's Degree in History, "Public History Employers- What Do They Want? A Report on the Survey" (

16. We are requesting permission to hire an additional faculty member with interest in the use of GIS in historical research, without regard to chronological or geographical specialty. Those interested in more details about this position should read the appropriate section of our web page on the M.A. program (