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Google Books Grant

Submitted by Arts & Sciences Web Team on July 14, 2010 - 8:12am
Peter Leonard.  Photo by UW's Mary Levin

Photo: UW / Mary Levin

A proposal co-written by a graduate student in the Department has been awarded one of twelve grants in a new Digital Humanities Research Award program from Google.

The project, Northern Insights: Tools & Techniques for Automated Literary Analysis, Based on the Scandinavian Corpus in Google Books, is a collaboration between dissertator Peter Leonard and Timothy Tangherlini, Professor and Chair of the Scandinavian Section at UCLA.

Over the course of the next year, Tangherlini and Leonard will explore the 160,000 Scandinavian texts in the Google Books corpus to help develop techniques and strategies for working with such a large volume of information. If such a collection of books were put on a library shelf, it would stretch five miles. Tangherlini’s existing work on the Danish folklore collections of Evald Tang Kristensen will provide a model for the advanced electronic text analysis that the team will apply to this much larger collection of works.

Peter Leonard is a Doctoral Candidate who started at the Department in 2003. Working with his faculty committee, which includes Lotta Gavel Adams and Andrew Nestingen, he is finishing a dissertation on “post-ethnic” Swedish literature. As a Fulbright Fellow, he has been a guest researcher at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. He has previously worked in academic computing at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, and has interned at Microsoft Corporation and the University of Copenhagen Press.

This is the first year that Google has offered grants to researchers working on its collection of over 12 million volumes in Google Books.

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