Three proposals have been accepted at AIUCD 2018, the 7th conference of  the Associazione per l’Informatica Umanistica e le Culture Digitali that will be held in Bari from 31st January to 2nd February 2018.

Abstract: Political discourse is grounded in a multi-dimensional deixis encoded in the language used by the speaker/writer. Chilton proposes a discourse space model, that is a conceptual structure made by three fundamental axes: time, space and modality. These axes intersect in a deictic center representing the here and now of the speaker/writer. From its theorization, this model has become a reference in the Humanities and Social Science fields to study rhetoric, persuasion and social identity in contemporary political communication. Our work aims at extending this type of analysis to historical political discourse by taking into consideration the complete corpus of Alcide De Gasperi used within the De Gasperi Project and by taking advantage of state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing and Semantic Web resources. The application of automatic tools is crucial to cover the vast corpus written by De Gasperi (almost 3,000 documents and 3 millions tokens spanning from 1901 to 1954) and provides a novel, comprehensive insight into his works.

Abstract: The digitization of epistolaries is extremely important for the preservation and study of the cultural and historical patrimony of literary correspondence. In recent years, several small and large-scale projects have been carried out. Many of these initiatives are based on collaborative work adopting a crowdsourcing approach and using web-based transcription interfaces accessible also to laypeople. However, some projects need transcriptions made by domain experts so to have a wide and accurate historical apparatus; moreover, web-based interfaces are not usable when it is necessary to transcribe in archives that do not have Internet connections available to users. In this proposal we describe LETTERE (LETters Transcription Environment for REsearch) a new stand-alone tool specifically designed for the transcription of correspondence in accordance with requirements defined by history scholars. The development of LETTERE is part of the National Edition of De Gasperi’s correspondence, a project launched in 2017 with the support of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism that, for the first time, funded a National Edition in digital format.

  • “Two days we have passed with the ancients…”: a Digital Resource of Historical Travel Writings on Italy, by Rachele Sprugnoli

Abstract: Non-fictional travel writings are powerful sources of information for many research areas, such as art history, ethnography, geography and cultural history. By collecting several books on the same place, it is possible to study how material and cultural aspects change over time. Moreover, travel writings can give insight not only into the places and people visited by the traveller but also on his/her culture and worldviews. Despite the importance of this type of texts, digital collections of travel writings are not easy to retrieve. Texts are often not available in a format that can be straightforwardly processed by a computer, or there is no direct download of the collection, or the documents are scattered in vast digital archives. In order to overcome these limitations, we release the first version of a corpus of more than 2 millions words of historical English travel writings about Italy which we have retrieved from freely available sources (Project Gutenberg and Project Gutenberg Australia) and we make them available in a cleaned text format and in TEI-XML through the following website: