The Project

This Atlas is a product of Oceanic Exchanges: Tracing Global Information Networks in Historical Newspaper Repositories, 1840-1914. The project was funded through the Transatlantic Partnership for Social Sciences and Humanities 2016 Digging into Data Challenge and was undertaken by researchers from Universität Stuttgart, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universiteit Utrecht, Turun Yliopisto, Loughborough University, University College London, University of Edinburgh, Northeastern University, North Carolina State University, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln between 2017 and 2019

Our Aims and Objectives

The Atlas aims to facilitate more historically informed understandings of digitised newspapers for researchers across disciplines. The nineteenth-century newspaper was a messy object, filled with an ever-changing mix of material in an innumerable number of amorphous layouts; digitised newspapers are no different. Each database contains a theoretically standardised collection of data, metadata, and images; however, the precise nature and nuance of the data is often occluded by the automatic processes that encoded it. Moreover, no true universal standard has been implemented to facilitate cross-database analysis, encouraging digital research to remain within existing institutional or commercial silos. To overcome this, and to promote a remixing of discrete repositories, researchers must solve several technical and philosophical challenges

Our Methodology

The Oceanic Exchanges project aimed to bring together experienced researchers and rich data sources from around the world in order to better understand nineteenth-century patterns of news dissemination. Each of the partner institutions hosted researchers who had previously worked with at least one of the collections and these scholars worked with data providers to obtain and, where needed, licence static versions of these databases for computational research across the project. The collections were hosted on a secure server by Northeastern University, which could be consulted remotely by project partners around the world, and samples from each of these collections were examined by the team at Loughborough University to catalogue their contents, working with the providing libraries and project members to ensure this sample reflected the wider database from which it was derived


This report would not have been possible without the support, advice and knowledge of researchers, digitisers, librarians and archivists around the world