The development of models, using tools from computational linguistics, to help track the spread of prints and reprints of poetry and short stories throughout 19th-centry newspapers, using the sources found in the Chronicling America database of digitized newspapers.
Uncovering Reprinting Networks in Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers seeks to develop theoretical models that will help scholars better understand what qualities--both textual and thematic--helped particular news stories, short fiction, and poetry "go viral" in nineteenth-century newspapers and magazines. Prior to copyright legislation and enforcement, literary texts as well as other non-fiction prose texts circulated promiscuously among newspapers as editors freely reprinted materials borrowed from other venues. What texts were reprinted and why? How did ideas--literary, political, scientific, economic, religious--circulate in the public sphere and achieve critical force among audiences? By employing and developing computational linguistics tools to analyze the large textual databases of nineteenth-century newspapers newly available to scholars, this project will generate new knowledge of the nineteenth-century print public sphere.