British Library Labs competition 2015: Political Meetings Mapper

I can now announce that I'm one of the two winners of the British Library Labs 2015 competition to design a digital tool and resource to showcase the library's collections.

Press release: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digital-scholarship/2015/06/bl-labs-competition-winners-for-2015.html

My idea is 'Political Meetings Mapper', to extract records of political meetings from the 19th century newspapers and plot them on layers of historical maps.




To start, we'll be doing a pilot with the Chartist newspaper the Northern Star, from 1838-1844, and plotting all the Chartist meetings that took place. We will be able to see geographical patterns in the meetings and users of the website will be able to see if Chartist meetings happened in their area, on their street, or perhaps even in their local pub!

I've been doing this manually for my book - see the data on my website Protest History - but this project will enable historians to extract and map the data automatically.

I'll be working on this with the super British Library Labs team, Mahendra Mahey and Ben O'Steen, over this summer and will attempt to blog regularly about our progress. I'm indebted to the Digital Scholarship department of the library for all their help and support already at this early stage!

The other winner is also from the University of Hertfordshire, Adam Crymble, lecturer in digital history, with his super idea for an 80s style arcade game to help crowd-source data for the British Library collections. Our double-win is a great start for our new Digital History Research Centre at Hertfordshire.

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