Placing Names (Hardcover)

Enriching and Integrating Gazetteers (Spatial Humanities)

By Merrick Lex Berman (Editor), Ruth Mostern (Editor), Humphrey Southall (Editor)

Indiana University Press, 9780253022448, 280pp.

Publication Date: August 8, 2016



Well before the innovation of maps, gazetteers served as the main geographic referencing system for hundreds of years. Consisting of a specialized index of place names, gazetteers traditionally linked descriptive elements with topographic features and coordinates. Placing Names is inspired by that tradition of discursive place-making and by contemporary approaches to digital data management that have revived the gazetteer and guided its development in recent decades. Adopted by researchers in the Digital Humanities and Spatial Sciences, gazetteers provide a way to model the kind of complex cultural, vernacular, and perspectival ideas of place that can be located in texts and expanded into an interconnected framework of naming history. This volume brings together leading and emergent scholars to examine the history of the gazetteer, its important role in geographic information science, and its use to further the reach and impact of spatial reasoning into the digital age.

About the Author

Merrick Lex Berman is Web Services Manager and GIS Specialist at the Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University. Berman has developed (with Bill Hays) a Temporal Gazetteer web service, and was the project manager for the China Historical GIS. Ruth Mostern is Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at the University of California, Merced. Mostern developed (with Elijah Meeks) the Digital Gazetteer of the Song Dynasty and is author of Dividing the Realm in Order to Govern: The Spatial Organization of the Song State.Humphrey Southall is Professor of Historical Geography at University of Portsmouth (UK). He developed the Great Britain Historical GIS, and the website Vision of Britain. He has been extensively involved with historical gazetteers in the context of GIS and spatial statistics and is now working on PastPlace, a linked data gazetteer of historical place names.