• Automatically analysing large texts in a GIS environment: The Registrar General’s reports and cholera in the nineteenth century

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Baron, Alistair; Gregory, Ian; Hardie, Andrew; Rayson, Paul; Digital Humanities Research Centre; University of Chester (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2014-11-14)
      The aim of this article is to present new research showcasing how Geographic Information Systems in combination with Natural Language Processing and Corpus Linguistics methods can offer innovative venues of research to analyze large textual collections in the Humanities, particularly in historical research. Using as examples parts of the collection of the Registrar General’s Reports that contain more than 200,000 pages of descriptions, census data and vital statistics for the UK, we introduce newly developed automated textual tools and well known spatial analyses used in combination to investigate a case study of the references made to cholera and other diseases in these historical sources, and their relationship to place-names during Victorian times. The integration of such techniques has allowed us to explore, in an automatic way, this historical source containing millions of words, to examine the geographies depicted in it, and to identify textual and geographic patterns in the corpus.
    • Crossing Boundaries: Using GIS in Literary Studies, History and Beyond

      Gregory, Ian; Baron, Alistair; Cooper, David; Hardie, Andrew; Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Rayson, Paul; Lancaster University; Lancaster University; MMU; Lancaster University; University of Chester; Lancaster University (Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art, 2014-09-05)
      Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have become widely accepted in historical research and there are increasing calls for them to be used more widely in humanities disciplines. The difficulty is, however, that GIS comes from a quantitative, social science paradigm that is frequently not well suited to the kinds of sources that are widely used in the humanities. The challenge for GIS, if it is to become a widely used tool within the humanities, is thus two-fold. First, approaches need to be developed that allow humanities sources to be exploited within a data model that is usable by GIS. Second, and more importantly, researchers need to demonstrate that by adopting GIS they can make significant new and substantive contributions to knowledge across humanities disciplines. This paper explores both of these questions focussing primarily on examples from literary studies, in the form of representations of the English Lake District and history, looking at nineteenth century public health reports.
    • Distant readings of the geographies in text corpora: Mapping Norman Nicholson’s poems and letters

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Donaldson, Christopher; Gregory, Ian; University of Chester; Lancaster University (CVCE Workshop Proceedings, 2016)
      This short article summarises a preliminary study of the poetry and correspondence of the English poet Norman Nicholson (1914-1987), undertaken as part of Lancaster University’s Spatial Humanities: Texts, GIS, Places project. In addition to offering a concise explanation of the Spatial Humanities project and the methods it employs, the article explains how working with GIS, visualisation techniques, and distant reading enriches our understanding both of the geography of Nicholson’s poetry and of the spatial dimensions of the network of people with whom he exchanged letters throughout his career.
    • Further frontiers in GIS: Extending Spatial Analysis to Textual Sources in Archaeology

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Gregory, Ian; Digital Humanities Research Centre; University of Chester (De Gruyter Open, 2015-05-20)
      Although the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has a long history in archaeology, spatial technologies have been rarely used to analyse the content of textual collections. A newly developed approach termed Geographic Text Analysis (GTA) is now allowing the semi-automated exploration of large corpora incorporating a combination of Natural Language Processing techniques, Corpus Linguistics, and GIS. In this article we explain the development of GTA, propose possible uses of this methodology in the field of archaeology, and give a summary of the challenges that emerge from this type of analysis.
    • Geographical Information Systems as a Tool for Exploring the Spatial Humanities

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Gregory, Ian; University of Chester; Lancaster University (Routledge, 2016-07-28)
      This chapter will introduce the basics of geographical information systems (GIS) for humanities scholarship. It will provide a brief overview of how using GIS software can help researchers understand the geographies within their sources. It will briefly introduce how GIS models features and places on the Earth’s surface so that the reader is gets a basic understanding of the core terminology associated with GIS. It will then talk through the basics of how a researcher gets their sources into GIS software; how they can query, integrate and analyse data within GIS; and how they can disseminate their results using maps and electronic outputs such as KML files that can be disseminated using Google Earth. The conclusion will look briefly at what a researcher can and cannot expect to gain from using GIS and stress that mapping is only a part of the research process – good at identifying and describing patterns but limited in its ability to explain them. The chapter will be include several diagrams and will be extensively referenced.
    • Geoparsing, GIS and textual analysis: current developments in spatial humanities research

      Gregory, Ian; Donaldson, Christopher; Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Rayson, Paul; Lancaster University; University of Chester (Edinburgh University Press, 2015-03-01)
      The spatial humanities constitute a rapidly developing research field that has the potential to create a step-change in the ways in which the humanities deal with geography and geographical information. As yet, however, research in the spatial humanities is only just beginning to deliver the applied contributions to knowledge that will prove its significance. Demonstrating the potential of innovations in technical fields is, almost always, a lengthy process, as it takes time to create the required datasets and to design and implement appropriate techniques for engaging with the information those datasets contain. Beyond this, there is the need to define appropriate research questions and to set parameters for interpreting findings, both of which can involve prolonged discussion and debate. The spatial humanities are still in early phases of this process. Accordingly, the purpose of this special issue is to showcase a set of exemplary studies and research projects that not only demonstrate the field’s potential to contribute to knowledge across a range of humanities disciplines, but also to suggest pathways for future research. Our ambition is both to demonstrate how the application of exploratory techniques in the spatial humanities offers new insights about the geographies embedded in a diverse range of texts (including letters, works of literature, and official reports) and, at the same time, to encourage other scholars to integrate these techniques in their research.
    • GIS and Literary History: Advancing Digital Humanities Research through the Spatial Analysis of Historical Travel Writing and Topographical Literature

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Donaldson, Christopher; Gregory, Ian; University of Chester; University of Lancaster; University of Lancaster (The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, 2017-03-06)
      Exploratory studies have demonstrated the benefits of implementing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in literary and cultural-historical research. These studies have done much to affirm the power and flexibility of GIS technology as a resource for humanities scholarship. At the same time, however, these studies share a common limitation in that they tend to rely on the analysis of point-based cartographic representations. Such representations are suitable for modelling quantitative geographical phenomena, but they are inadequate for modelling qualitative human phenomena. This inadequacy constitutes a significant problem for researchers who aspire to analyse the geographical experiences and spatial relationships represented in works of literature, including works that contain accounts of travel. The present article proposes a solution to this problem by demonstrating how advanced spatial analyses within GIS such as Cost-Surface Analysis (CSA) and Least-Cost-Path Analysis (LCP) can be used to facilitate more nuanced interpretations of historical works of travel writing and topographical literature. Specifically, the article explains how GIS, CSA and LCP can be combined to build coherent spatial models of the journeys recorded in the works of three canonical eighteenth-century British travellers, each of whom composed influential accounts of their travels through the English Lake District: the poet Thomas Gray (1716–1771), the naturalist Thomas Pennant (1726–1798) and the agriculturist Arthur Young (1741–1820).
    • Introduction: Rethinking Literary Mapping

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Donaldson, Christopher; Cooper, David; University of Chester; Lancaster University; Manchester Metropolitan University (Routledge, 2016-05-20)
      This book is about the relationship between the practice of mapping, the application of geospatial technologies and the interpretation of literary texts. The contributors have been selected from a range of disciplines and they approach this relationship from different perspectives. Yet, notwithstanding these differences, their contributions are collectively defined by a shared preoccupation with the possibilities afforded – and the problems presented – by the use of digital mapping tools and techniques in literary studies and cultural-geographical research. Each of the following chapters, that is to say, explores the dynamic ways that the creation of literary maps can confirm meaning and challenge critical assumptions.
    • Mapping ‘Wordsworthshire’: A GIS Study of Literary Tourism in Victorian Lakeland

      Donaldson, Christopher; Gregory, Ian; Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; University of Birmingham; Lancaster University; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2015-08-14)
      This article answers the call for scholarship that models the implementation of geographic information systems (GIS) technologies in literary-historical research. In doing so, it creates a step change to the integration of digital methodologies in the humanities. Combining methods and perspectives from cultural history, literary studies, and geographic information sciences, the article confirms, challenges, and extends understanding of Victorian literary tourism in the English Lake District. It engages with the accounts of several nineteenth-century tourists, paying specific attention to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s English Notebooks and Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley’s A Coach Drive at the Lakes, which are examined alongside contemporaneous guidebooks and other commercial tourist publications. In the process, the article draws attention to a spatial correlation between the route of the Ambleside turnpike (the Lake District’s principal coach road) and the major literary sites to which Victorian Lakeland visitors were guided. Recognizing this correlation, we contend, helps to deepen our appreciation of how the physical and imaginative geographies of the Lake District region interrelate. Specifically, it helps us appreciate how the Victorian fascination with the Lakeland’s literary associations was modulated not only by interest in the region’s other attractions, but also by material conditions on the ground.
    • Spatial Humanities: Present and Future. Special Issue.

      Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Gregory, Ian; Donaldson, Christopher; Rayson, Paul; University of Chester; Lancaster University (Edinburgh University Press, 2015-03)
      The spatial humanities constitute a rapidly developing research field that has the potential to create a step-change in the ways in which the humanities deal with geography and geographical information. As yet, however, research in the spatial humanities is only just beginning to deliver the applied contributions to knowledge that will prove its significance. Demonstrating the potential of innovations in technical fields is, almost always, a lengthy process, as it takes time to create the required datasets and to design and implement appropriate techniques for engaging with the information those datasets contain. Beyond this, there is the need to define appropriate research questions and to set parameters for interpreting findings, both of which can involve prolonged discussion and debate. The spatial humanities are still in early phases of this process. Accordingly, the purpose of this special issue is to showcase a set of exemplary studies and research projects that not only demonstrate the field's potential to contribute to knowledge across a range of humanities disciplines, but also to suggest pathways for future research.