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Ian Gregory

Professor of Digital Humanities

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BA: Geography (Lancaster); MSc: Geographical Information Systems (Edinburgh); PhD: Historical GIS (London)

Department of History
Lancaster University
Lancaster, LA1 4YT, UK

Room: B144, Bowland
Tel: +44 (0)1524 594967
Fax: +44 (0)1524 846102
E-mail: I.Gregory@lancaster.ac.uk

I am a geographer by training who, after doing an MSc in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at the University of Edinburgh, got a one-year contract at Queen Mary, University of London working to create a GIS of some nineteenth century administrative data. Somehow this evolved into the Great Britain Historical GIS (GBHGIS), a major database that comprises the majority of statistical data from sources such as the census and vital registration data for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This took several years to build and over £500,000 of funding, primarily from the ESRC. It was also the subject of my PhD. Since leaving London I worked at the University of Portsmouth and then as the Associate Director of Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis at the Queens University, Belfast. In September 2006 I moved to Lancaster to lead a new initiative in Digital Humanities. I am the review editor of the International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing and I have served on the editorial boards of the journals Social Science History and Historical Methods, have twice been network co-chair of the Social Science History Associations's Historical Geography network and have served a term on their Executive Committee. I am also network co-charir of the European Social Science History Association's Spatial and Digital History network. For several years I was on the Institutional Board and Technical Steering Committee of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative. As shown below I have published widely on historical GIS including four books, one by CUP, and articles in journals including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Annals of the Assoc. of American Geographers, Progress in Human Geography, and the British Medical Journal.

Research interests :

1. The use of GIS technology to study long-term change in the societies of Britain and Ireland in particular through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

2. Developing an understanding of what GIS has to offer to historical research and to the humanities more generally and developing the use of these technologies in disciplines including history and literary studies.

3. Using computing technology across the humanities and social sciences to gain a better understanding of the past.

What is Historical GIS?

For an answer to this see the Historical GIS Research Network website.

Spatial Humanities project

I am PI on a European Research Council grant on Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS and places. This project runs from 2012 to 2016 and builds upon Lancaster’s international expertise in Corpus Linguistics and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The project will develop methodologies for the automatic extraction of place names from large bodies of text, a process which will facilitate spatial interpretations of both historical events and imaginative representations of space and place.  These techniques will then be applied to two major case studies. The first will explore the literary geographies of the Lake District from the middle of the eighteenth-century to the early twentieth-century. This strand of the project will focus primarily on mapping an extensive range of literary texts; but it will also explore how the spatial patterns embedded within these writings relate to contemporary web 2.0 representations (such as photographs on Flickr) of the Lakes. The second strand will concentrate on nineteenth-century social and demographic history and will examine how textual sources can be integrated with statistical information – from sources such as the census – to shed new lights on a range of topics including mortality decline. The project will also include a significant training component to widen the skills base in the use of digital technologies within a range of humanities disciplines. It will also involve extensive collaboration with a range of cultural heritage partners in the north west and beyond. 

Recent publications:

Books:

Journal articles:

Book chapters:

Other publications:

Media interest:

Keynote and plenary presentations:

Current and recently completed grants and funded research:

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