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March 31, 2017

Programming Historian supports research on history of protest

Adam Crymble

The Northern Star newspaper, 9 February 1839.

In the 1830s, the British grass-roots protest movement that came to be known as the ‘Chartists’ gathered in pubs around Britain to rally for an expansion of voting rights. Katrina Navickas is a historian of political movements and has become increasingly interested in the study of spaces, which was the focus of her recent monograph, Protest and the politics of space and place, 1789-1848.

We’re pleased to announce that the Programming Historian has been able to contribute to her most recent project to map the distribution of Chartist meetings in nineteenth century London. In 2015, Navickas was one of the winners of the British Library Labs award, which gave her access to British Library digital collections and expertise. Building on her interest of the history of protest, she extracted details of Chartist meetings from nineteenth century digitised newspapers, to produce the ‘Political Meetings Mapper’ project. Part of Navickas’ workflow involved adapting Adam Crymble’s lesson on ‘Using Gazetteers to Extract Sets of Keywords from Free-Flowing Texts’ to isolate text related to meetings within her wider newspaper collection.

Navickas and Crymble have since co-authored a full description of the project and of the workflow used to build this project, which has been published open access in the Journal of Victorian Culture. We’re very pleased to see this clear impact of the work of Programming Historian lessons in academic research, and we’d be thrilled to hear from other scholars with similar stories.

Read ‘From Chartist Newspaper to Digital Map of Grass-roots Meetings, 1841-44: Documenting Workflows’ (open access).

About the author

Adam Crymble is a senior lecturer of digital history.