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Grant number like: HD-51560-12

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University Of Houston (Houston, TX 77204-3067)
Natalie M. Houston (Project Director: October 2011 to April 2014)

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants
Digital Humanities

[White paper]

$49,955 (approved)
$43,870 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2012 – 12/31/2013

The Visual Page

A book history project that seeks to identify and analyze visual features of books such as margins, spacing, and typeface, using as a test case approximately 60,000 page images from 300 books of Victorian poetry printed between 1860 and 1880.

All printed texts convey meaning through both linguistic and graphic signs, but existing tools for computational text analysis focus only on the linguistic content. The Visual Page will develop a prototype application to identify and analyze visual features in digitized Victorian books of poetry, such as margin space, line indentation, and typeface attributes. This will enable scholars to compare documents, identify distinctive or typical books, and track historical changes and influence over very large sets of digitized texts. Current research into such questions is limited by our human capacity to view and compare only a fairly small number of texts at one time. Thus our understanding of their historical significance is based on limited information. Computer analysis can point to significant patterns and trends over a much larger set of texts, which will ultimately transform our understanding of Victorian print culture and the humanities at large.