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The emigrant letter digitised: markup and analysis

Moreton, Emma Louise (2016)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The sourcing, preservation and documentation of emigrant letter collections is now gathering pace, with the Internet providing a significant new forum for the dissemination of long-hidden archives. Most existing digital letter collections consist of unannotated versions of original manuscripts. The digitisation process has made the letters more accessible and has also increased their searchability. However, relatively few emigrant letter projects have moved beyond the digitisation stage to exploit text content and enhance usability and searchability through the use of digital technologies.

This thesis explores some of the opportunities and challenges of working with digitised historical emigrant letter collections. Essentially, the thesis does two things: first, it uses digital technologies (specifically corpus and computational methods of analysis) to explore the language of emigrant letters, building on the existing body of research – primarily by historians – to offer another way into migrant correspondence; second, it proposes a system of markup for capturing metadata relating to emigrant letters – metadata which can then be used to interconnect resources enabling users to carry out more nuanced and sophisticated searchers. I argue that my proposed system could be widely applied to emigrant letter collections, facilitating much greater interdisciplinary and collaborative analysis of such material than has been undertaken hitherto.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Toolan, Michael and Thompson, Paul
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics
Subjects:P Philology. Linguistics
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6416
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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