Global trading of commodities mushroomed during the 19th century as European and American nations colonized frontiers rich with natural resources. What were the economic and environmental consequences of this activity? Our project explores these questions by text mining millions of pages of historical documents using named-entity recognition and geoparsing methods developed at the University of Edinburgh. Although our research will have a global scope, it will particularly emphasize the role of Canadian natural resources in the network of commodity flows. The text-mining pipeline creates a very large geospatial database that we can explore through purpose build visualizations and using GIS software. Jim Clifford is the U of S team member and he is working with Colin Coates at York University, Ewen Klein, Bea Alex, Claire Grover, Clare Llewellyn, James Reid, Ian Fieldhouse, and Nicola Osborne at the University of Edinburgh and EDINA, and Aaron Quigley and Uta Hinrichs and the University of St Andrews.
Visit the project website for more information.