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GIS, texts and images : new approaches.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2011
JournalPoetess Archive Journal
Original languageEnglish


In this talk, given at the Digital Humanities Conference 2010, we explore how effective Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can be as a tool to help us understand literary geographies and geographies found in other unstructured texts. Much of the paper describes work that maps and spatially analyses the descriptions of two eighteenth-century journeys around the Lake District. These were written by the poets Thomas Gray and Samuel Taylor Coleridge—respectively a proto-Picturesque and a Romantic writer. This explores how GIS can be used to develop our understanding of these relatively short texts and how the writers responded to the landscapes around them. It also explores how image-based data can be added to these. The paper then moves on to explore whether this approach could be applied to a much larger corpus, namely the Lancaster Newsbooks Corpus – 800,000 words taken from surviving seventeenth century newsbooks printed in London. The work we have done suggests that GIS can aid literary studies as a tool for both close and distant reading.