Development of text-mining and visualization tools to study movement of information through time and space by analyzing digitized texts of historical newspapers from the NEH-funded Chronicling America archive.
The digital age is overwhelming most scholars with far more information than they can process through traditional means. If scholars are going to make sense of millions of digitized historical newspapers they need more effective tools for uncovering meaningful patterns than a basic word search can provide. What scholars need are more sophisticated methods for (1) identifying meaningful patterns embedded in large-scale digital datasets and (2) tools for visualizing those patterns so they can be understood. This project will combine the two best methods for such work: text-mining and geo-visualization. We will mine digitized historical newspapers for language patterns scattered across millions of words, and then map that information as it moved across time and space. The result will be a series of working models demonstrating how humanities scholars can both extract meaningful patterns from otherwise overwhelming datasets and then make sense of those patterns by visualizing them.