Distant reading. . .

Task:  Write a short post, considering how distant reading might apply to your individual projects.

Right now I don’t see distant reading connecting to my churchscape project as it currently stands.  I see potential for distant reading with other work I’m doing, but I am painfully aware that I don’t have good useable data with which to work.  That’s my current stumbling block.  Existing bodies of digital materials in good shape for text mining don’t relate very directly to my research interests.  And the task of creating such bodies of material on my own seems quite daunting.  Perhaps more feasible as a collaborative effort with other scholars in my field?

Churchscape: Clay County, MN

In this project I plan to develop a website examining the churchscape of Clay County, Minnesota.  The concept of churchscape includes considering not only the physical church structures/houses ofworship, but also the social, cultural, political and economic significance of the communities who worshipped there.I hope to begin by mapping locations of church buildings in the county over time from the early settlement years (1870s) to the present. I would also like to include the following components:

  •  Map layers that showing change over time in the locations and number (density) of churches.
  • I would like viewers to be able to click locations and learn more about the buildings and congregations there (through text and/or primary source images, documents).
  • Ability for viewers to contribute their own images, recollections, and/or documents to the site, or to allow me to digitize materials for inclusion on the site.

It may be more realistic to begin with a particular denomination or time period that would be valuable on its own (Lutheran chSkree Township Plat Map excerpt, 1909urches, nineteenth century churches. . . . ), but would also provide a model when seeking funding to develop the project on a larger scope?