The Presner, Shepard, Kawano article hopes to encourage the idea of “thick mapping”. This concept is shaped by the idea that the digital humanities can potential be a place of discovery and interconnectedness. Essentially, the authors are arguing that by using “HyperCities”, information can be interconnected, organized and understood in a way that can deepen meaning. “Thick mapping” allows information to go beyond a one-time visualization that one might find in the history of standard cartography. In some ways, we have already begun to find more layers in mapping. Standard charts of locations have transformed into globes and the intricate digital systems of maps we use now. Layered mapping goes beyond this, however. It requires depth of information, but also relies on post-modernist ideas of examining information at the surface level. This is why it is called “thickness” as opposed to “depth”.
“Thick mapping” seems inexorably linked to the way we must interact with history as music historians. The authors wrote “Thick maps are conjoined with stories, and stories are conjoined with maps, such that ever more complex contexts for meaning are created. As such, thick maps are never finished and meanings are never definitive”. This is the only way to examine music history and can relate to the work we are doing in class. In music history, it is never adequate to look at a fact in a vacuum. One may understand the location of a performance of a particular piece. Discovery of this location are the limits of a traditional map. The concept of “thick mapping” plays into this because of the need for more knowledge. We can draw more meaning out of interconnected readings of the same information. Readings can be informed by many things, including culture or history. There are undoubtedly a number of factors that contributed to the outcome of this piece being played in this particular location. And there are undoubtedly consequences of this event as well. The complex ideas in music history cannot be captured without the idea of thick mapping, which tries to live in the idea of complexity, as opposed to only providing a single layer.