With the increased interest in the material aspects of the book, the field of book history has seen rapid expansion in the past twenty years. An extremely broad area of research, the problem of finding sources in multiple languages and disciplines has been of continuing concern. “The Book History Bibliograph”, a bibliographic tool currently under development between Stanford and the University of Edinburgh, with input from McGill, proposes creative solutions to cross-disciplinary and multi-lingual searching.
Under the direction of Dr. Tom Mole (University of Edinburgh), the SSHRC-funded project is one of many initiatives supported by the “Interacting with Print” group at McGill. Dr. Mole describes the Bibliograph as “a thinking aid”, rather than a simple “finding aid”. The system will provide access to and create relationships between sources using three methods of selection: text-mined lexical frequencies, keyword links and user feedback. The results will be visualized using a mapping technique similar to “Google Maps”, which will effectively allow researchers to follow thematic navigational paths through a set of sources, rather than accessing them in traditional list formats.
Currently in “beta”, the Bibliograph database contains about 500 sources; Dr. Mole and his team are now in the process of developing ways of relating the texts to each other that will inform the final visualization. The final stage will include the development of a visual interface that will allow the navigational process. Further information regarding the project may be found on the “Interacting with Print” website.