The Palimpsest Project

The Palimpsest project uses natural language processing technology, informed by literary scholars’ input, in order to text mine literary works set in Edinburgh and to visualise the results in accessible ways. The project team is exploring the ways in which text mining can be developed by drawing on literary methods, skills and experience, and has created a new version of the Edinburgh Geoparser with fine-grained georeferencing. The team is also developing a range of maps and accessible visualisations, with which users will be able to interact with Edinburgh’s literature in a variety of ways, exploring the spatial relations of the literary city at particular times in its history, in the works of particular authors, or across different eras, genres and writers. They will be able to follow focused and planned routes through the cityscape, or be receptive to unanticipated textual conjunctions. They will be able to access a synoptic literary historical map of the city’s development, and to explore moments and dimensions in that development. Palimpsest will constitute a major intervention into our apprehension of the Edinburgh literary cityscape, with the potential to shape the experience and understanding of critics and editors, residents and visitors, readers and writers. Palimpsest is a collaboration between literary scholars, computer scientists specializing in textmining, and information visualisation scholars, from the University of Edinburgh's School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures; the School of Informatics; the University of St Andrews' SACHI research group; and EDINA . The web resources will be made freely available; the software, dataset and text-mined output will also be released as open access resources. For more details, visit: