Curatr Workshop: A new tool for analysing the British Library’s 19th Century Corpus

Image of books on a shelf. Graphic mashup using canva.


Looking for typhus in 3 volume novels or references to Edinburgh in migrant fiction? How do you find one topic or text in 35,000?

Curatr is a new online platform which provides access to the British Library 19th Century Corpus, corresponding to over thirty-five thousand unique titles, both fiction and non-fiction, from 1700 to 1899. The platform is specifically designed for humanities scholars to use without the need for extensive technical training and offers advanced search functionality by term, text, author, topic and date. This event will introduce participants to the content, architecture and functions of the platform, including how to identify content relating to specific themes within little known or very long, unwieldy texts, content-based recommendation methods and the visualisation of the relationships between concepts in the corpus how to create and export of sub-corpora, defined thematically, chronologically, and by classification.

The workshop will demonstrate how the platform is being used by researchers on the ERC VICTEUR project at UCD to identify and analyse the representation of European migrants in Victorian fiction. It will explore what such large scale cultural and historical datasets can tell us about the dynamics of cultural change, particularly the role of migration, and the potential uses of the corpus for a broad range of literary and historical research. There will also be an opportunity for participants to use the interface and discuss its affordances with the project team.

Please note that the workshop is organised in two sessions. The morning session will be online only, and will consist of a series of presentations and responses. In the afternoon, participants can choose to attend in person or remotely. The afternoon will include a practical hands-on session, and there will be lunch and refreshments for those attending in-person.

Find out more about the project.



Morning Session

10:00 – 10:10 Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:15 – 10:45 Overview of Project and Welcome from Professor Gerardine Meaney (Professor of Cultural Theory, UCD) and Dr Derek Greene (Assistant Professor in Computer Science, UCD)


10:45 – 11:15 Professor Enda Delaney (Professor of Modern History, University of Edinburgh)

11:15 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 11:45 Dr Anna Pilz (Marie Curie Fellow, University of Edinburgh)

11:45 – 12:00 Professor Melissa Terras (Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage, University of Edinburgh)

12:00 – 12:15 Dr Rosa Filgueira (Lecturer in Computing Science, University of St Andrews)

12:15 – 12:30 Dr Brian MacNamee (Associate Professor in Computer Science, UCD)

12:30 Closing Remarks


Afternoon Session **Option to attend In Person**

13:00 – 13:45 Lunch

13:45 – 14:00 Remote attendees join

14:00 – 14:45 Practicals in groups

14:45 – 15:15 Q&A and Discussion

15:15 – 15:30 Karen Wade (Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Cultural Analytics, UCD)

15:30 – 15:45 Briony Wickes (Postdoc Research Fellow, UCD)

15:50 – 16:00 Closing Remarks

16:00 – 17:00 Drinks reception and networking


Booking Information

Upon booking, attendees will receive an automated confirmation email which will contain a link to the online event page. Part of this event will take place on Zoom. Attendees will receive a second email closer to the event booking which will also provide the link to the online event page. Please use the same email for registering with Eventbrite and when logging into Zoom.

If you wish to attend in person, please indicate this when you register: you will then be sent an email with details of the location closer to the date. The afternoon session will be held in Appleton Tower, George Square, Edinburgh.


Event Information

The morning session will be fully remote and take place on Zoom.

The afternoon session will be a mix of either in-person or remote practical exercises and presentations via Zoom. If you wish to attend in person, please indicate this when you register. The in-person afternoon session will be held in room 1.02, Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh.

This event will have live captions. Please inform us of any access requirements by emailing The event will be recorded and uploaded onto the CDCS website afterwards for public viewing. Further details about how CDCS uses your information obtained from booking onto our events can be found at in our Events Privacy Statement.

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