Space and Time in 100 Million Words : Health and Disease in a Nineteenth-century Newspaper

Porter, Catherine and Atkinson, Paul and Gregory, Ian Norman (2018) Space and Time in 100 Million Words : Health and Disease in a Nineteenth-century Newspaper. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, 12 (2). pp. 196-216. ISSN 1753-8548

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The abundance of information contained in nineteenth-century texts means the traditional ‘close reading’ of Victorian culture has limitations (Nicholson, 2012). Due to its sheer volume, historic newspaper text is one genre that has suffered from such methodological limitations, research questions and outputs often constrained by traditional approaches. With the increasing burgeoning availability of newspapers in digital format, there is a pressing need to look at how we might effectively and efficiently use these digital resources to help answer research questions and add to key historical and geographical debates. Focusing on the analysis of a large digital corpus, this paper has two key foci: (I) to extend on a new tried and tested methodology for the assessment of digital texts using a combination for corpus linguistics and geospatial technologies; and ; (II) apply said methodology to a case study assessing the presentation of health and disease in a nineteenth-century newspaper. The paper illustrates, for the first time, that by linking existing techniques with new and innovative approaches it is possible to temporally and spatially analyse and map themes of interest in large digital texts corpora on a scale not possible through more traditional close reading methods.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing. The Version of Record is available online at:
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30 Apr 2018 08:32
Last Modified:
05 Jul 2024 23:45