Oceanic Exchanges – Tracing Global Information Networks In Historical Newspaper Repositories


Principal investigator: Steffen Koch

Research Assistant: Moritz Knabben


As part of the collaborative Oceanic Exchanges project, we develop and investigate visualization concepts for collections of historical newspaper articles. In particular, exploring the propagation of reprints and the thematic structure of a multilingual corpus will be supported with interactive visualization in order to facilitate understanding of information flow across national and linguistic borders.


The number of printed newspapers increased in the 19th century as a result of sinking printing costs. Newspapers thus became the first mass medium. While reading a single newspaper article, it is hard to find out where the ideas come from, whether similar articles in other newspapers have been printed, and whether relationships between these articles exist.

Articles in historical newspapers are archived by local institutions and increasingly digitized. This makes it easier to apply computer-aided analyses on them. The project's goal is to collate a multilingual corpus of historical news articles, to model the thematic structure of the corpus across languages, and to recognize reused texts. Interactive visualizations will be developed to search and explore this preprocessed corpus interactively, equipping humanities scholars with approaches to derive new insights from these historic documents.

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