Jens Aurich: The labour movement through the eyes of the press: Collecting data on strike events from German historical newspapers (1880-1890) (MA-Arbeit)

In 1975, the three historians Charles, Louise and Richard Tilly published The Rebellious Century 1830-1930, containing time-series data on strikes and violent uprisings in the German states. The data is based on a manual review of articles from two major German newspapers of the time and was stored on punch cards.

Today, a reappraisal of the study of labour disputes through newspapers is both relevant as well as promising. Amidst technological changes paired with market-oriented institutional changes leading to growing levels of inequality and political backlashes, historically minded obversers have reinvigorated the historiographical relevance of the 19th century, invoking it as an analogy to current times. On the other hand, the progress made in the digitisation of historical newspapers, OCR and OLR technology, as well as natural language approaches to information extraction and modeling now promise to unlock the potential of a systematic exploitation of newspapers as sources on daily (conflict) events.

Departing from this outlook, this master’s thesis reviews current potentials and limitations to the systematic study of labour disputes through historical newspapers by means of an automated workflow. Specifically, it discusses existing tools and approaches as well as their applicability to the three main workflow steps: The assessment of the quality and potential for the improvement of raw data (OCR and OLR of digitised newspapers as provided by archives and libraries), the retrieval of text relevant for events of labour disputes and the modeling of information from relevant text using NER approaches (places and actors). Ultimately, it implements a pilot workflow for a small selection of German historical newspapers for the period of 1880-1890 and evaluates the potential of the implemented
workflow by comparing the retrieved data with known data on German strikes.

Den Abstract zum zweiten Vortrag am 03. November finden Sie unter:
Paul Ramisch: Das grünende Parlament: Untersuchung der historischen Entwicklung von Umweltdiskursen im Deutschen Bundestag mit digitalen Methoden

Vortrag im Rahmen des „Digital History“-Forschungskolloquiums
Zeit: Mittwoch, 03. November 2021, 16-18 Uhr
Ort: Zoom-Konferenz (Zugang auf Anfrage oder via Mailingliste)

Cite this article as:
digitalhistory: Jens Aurich: The labour movement through the eyes of the press: Collecting data on strike events from German historical newspapers (1880-1890) (MA-Arbeit), in: Digital History Berlin (Blog), erschienen am: 1. November 2021, Internet: https://dhistory.hypotheses.org/809.


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