Katherine Bode, from the Australian National University, will present a talk on September 30 at noon in 342 Curry Student Center. Please join us!

This presentation focuses on a project that employs one of Australia’s leading digital resources, the Trove database. Created by the National Library of Australia, Trove contains the largest holding of digitized historical newspapers internationally, with almost 14 million pages from more than 680 Australian newspapers. The project uses automatic search and harvesting methods to identify and extract full text and bibliographic metadata of serialized fiction.

The scale and type of fiction discovered – which includes local titles, as well as stories by overseas writers, including from Britain and America as well as France, Germany, China, Russia and elsewhere – massively expands our bibliographic record and indicates some of the ways in which research of this type will transform our understanding of literary and print history. In the process, however, it raises a key epistemological question: what are we actually representing and knowing on the basis of such results? Answering this question necessitates new ways of conceptualizing the relationship between literary history and the archive, and specifically, the type of archive that literary history requires and constructs.

Katherine Bode is Senior Lecturer in Literary and Textual Studies in the Centre for Digital Humanities Research at the Australian National University. She is co-editor of Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories (forthcoming 2014). Her most recent monograph, Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field (2012), explores the critical potential of quantitative methods for literary history.