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Department of Computational Linguistics Text Technologies

Impresso. Monitoring of the Past

Mining 200 Years of Historical Newspapers

Historical newspapers are mirrors of past societies. Published over centuries on a regular basis, they record wars and minor events, report on international, national and local matters, and document the day-to-day life; in a word, they keep track of the great and small history. They reflect the political, moral, and economic environments in which they were produced and they hold dense, continuous, and multi-level information which can help us understand how contemporaries experienced their present. This makes them indispensable for historians.


Pipeline of the impresso project

impresso lies at the interface of several scientific disciplines – computer sciences and humanities – and teams with different skills and expertise will work hand in hand to achieve the desired objectives. Supported by a network of 8 associated partners, featuring libraries, archives, newspaper  editors and historians, a consortium composed of computational linguists, digital humanists, digital historians and designers will jointly and concurrently work on three main tasks:

  1. the development and systematic evaluation of several NLP components for innovative historical text mining capacities at lexical, referential, and conceptual levels, resulting in a fully traceable and interoperable historical semantic knowledge base.
  2. the co-design of novel visualization interfaces to accommodate text analysis research tools and their usage by humanities scholars.
  3. the active and continuous assessment of the produced historical media monitoring tool suite, with the exploration of a historical use case – resistance against Europe –, the consideration of methodological and epistemological aspects, and with its pedagogical usage in the classroom.

While benefiting each involved field on specific research aspects, such endeavour will greatly foster the development of scholarship in the emerging field of digital history.

Project head

Martin Volk


Simon Clematide

Phillip Ströbel

Project Partners

DHLAB from the EPFL

C2DH from the University of Luxembourg

Project Website


This project receives funding from the SNSF Sinergia programme from September 2017 until September 2020.

Weiterführende Informationen

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