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Creating a Literary GIS of the English Lake District

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Publication date2/12/2021
Place of PublicationMarlborough
PublisherAdam Matthew Digital
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameResearch Methods: Primary Sources
PublisherAdam Matthews Digital


This article offers a beginner’s guide for undertaking Geographical Text Analysis (GTA), a method of integrating unstructured written works with geographical research questions. We focus here on one collection of texts: the Corpus of Lake District Writing, an 80-text collection developed by Lancaster University that incorporates poetry, novels, and non-fictional prose. It was compiled based on selections from a bibliography of Lake District writing, and spans the years 1622 to 1900 (although the majority of the texts are from the years, after c.1750, in which the Lake District became a popular tourist destination). It includes canonical works by authors including Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and John Ruskin, as well as lesser-known texts by the likes of Harriet Martineau and Edwin Waugh. Here, we will walk through how we transfigured this corpus from unstructured text into machine-readable, and mappable, data. We hope it will be useful both for literary students (and other scholars working on unstructured texts) looking to investigate the spatial elements of a text or corpus, and for geographers interested in enriching their understanding of an area’s human histories.