26 January 2016

Chronicling America Data Challenge -- Prizes will be awarded!

We often talk about Chronicling America as a great resource for digitized newspaper content.

NEH has issued a challenge (with prizes!) -- Create a web-based tool, data visualization, or other creative use of the information found in the Chronicling America historic newspaper database.  Here’s a snippet about this challenge.

... What are we looking for?  NEH encourages contestants to develop data visualizations, web-based tools, or other innovative and interesting web-based projects using the open data found in Chronicling America. There are over ten million pages of digitized newspapers in Chronicling America, published between 1836 and 1922, from towns and cities across the United States.  The newspapers illuminate 19th- and 20th-century American life, with stories about politics, sports, shopping, music, food, health, science, movies, and everything in between.  Entries should uncover trends, display insights, explore a theme, or tell a story.

For example, entries using the Chronicling America newspaper data could:
·        Show how local news in various places covered the World Series of baseball
·        Trace the developing motion picture industry across the country
·        Follow the enactment of amendments to the Constitution
·        Show coverage of a historic political campaign in various locations
·        Map the travels of a president across the country based on local news coverage
·        Show changes in advertising logos or newspaper mastheads over time
·        Track the price or adoption of consumer goods over time in different locations
·        Explore tourism in different locations in the United States
·        Discover how various regions of the country celebrated Thanksgiving at different times...

Full details can be found here. I also found this related read, NEH Invites Entries for the Chronicling America Data Challenge on the Blog of the American Historical Association interesting as it gave a couple of examples of projects “such as An Epidemiology of Information, which uses text mining to explore how information about the 1918 influenza pandemic spread, and Journalism’s Voyage West, a visualization of the growth and decline of newspapers in the US, have shown some of the possibilities offered by computational approaches to this digitized archive.”

Understanding historical context always benefits our family history research.

What neat project, based on Chronicling America, would you like to see undertaken?

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