Saturday, August 26, 2006

Gutenkarte - mapping books

Gutenkarte is an effort to map books by MetaCarta. Gutenkarte is a geographic text browser, intended to help readers explore the spatial component of classic works of literature. The website takes text from books in Project Gutenberg, stores these locations in a database, along with citations into the text itself, searches them for the appearance of place names, and plots them on a map of the world using their own GeoParser API, creating an astonishing visualization of the world described in a text. and offers an interface where the book can be browsed by chapter, by place, or all at once on an interactive map.

Today, while trying to enter the live maps, i could not, and kept on getting errors....Ultimately, Gutenkarte will offer the ability to annotate and correct the places in the database, so that the community will be able construct and share rich geographic views of Project Gutenberg's enormous body of literary classics.
Here, for example, is a map of Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

(Click on the picture to view the live map.) It's not perfect yet: note that "china" is in the Ivory Coast, and "Asia" seems to be located just off the coast of Cameroon. But the map does give an immediate sense of the range of Gibbon's book: in this case, the extent of the Roman world. The project is still in its infancy: eventually, users will be able to correct mistakes.

Gutenkarte suggests ways of looking at texts Here, for example, is a map he constructed of Parisian love affairs in the novel, demonstrating that lovers were usually separated by the Seine:

via futureofthebook


Princess Haiku said...

I have discovered in life that my lovers and I are often seperated by/from reality. That's a kind of river isn't it? :)

Princess Haiku said...

The geographics of literature are something quite outside of a writer's usual frame of reference. I wonder if you know that I have visited here..