I somehow failed to post about this when it was announced last summer, but I’ve received an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year to work on the project “Literary Geography at Scale.”
Things are going well so far; I’ll be updating the site here with reports as the research moves along. Eventually, there will be a full site to access and visualize the data (think Google Ngrams for geographic data). In the meantime, here’s the project abstract:
Literary Geography at Scale uses natural language processing algorithms and automated geocoding to extract geographic information from nearly eleven million digitized volumes held by the HathiTrust Digital Library. The project extends existing computationally assisted work on American and international literary geography to new regions, new historical periods – including the present day – and to a vastly larger collection of texts. It also provides scholars in the humanities and social sciences with an enormous yet accessible trove of geographic information. Because the HathiTrust corpus includes books published over many centuries in a variety of languages and across nearly all disciplines, the derived data is potentially useful to researchers in a range of humanities and computational fields. Literary Geography at Scale is one of the largest humanities text-mining projects to date and the first truly large-scale study of 20th and 21st century literature.