Conference paper Open Access

Disappearing Discourses: Avoiding anachronisms and teleology with data-driven methods in studying digital newspaper collections

Zosa, Elaine; Hengchen, Simon; Marjanen, Jani; Pivovarova, Lidia; Tolonen, Mikko

Newspapers have been a rich source of information for historians for the past hundred years or so. In the past twenty years, digitization of newspapers has made it possible to do simple tasks such as keyword searches or more elaborate text mining analyses. Advancements like this create unprecedented possibilities to the analysis of historical sources. While there is some truth to the promises of the future, the reality is such that the research on digitized newspapers remains underdeveloped with regard to reference corpora and reproducibility of the research. Digitized newspapers are particularly discussed with respect to the development of public discourse, but the idea of entering the realm of past discourse through the digitized newspapers may in the end be harmful. In reality, historians are interested in the different layers of newspaper publicity, thus location and temporality always play a crucial role of any historical analysis of public discourse in newspapers.

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