Our bibliography of travel accounts has currently more than 1,400 entries. It has thus already become a significant source of information for the genre. However, collecting the data is just a small step toward our final goal. We aim to build a totally accurate and reliable database for travelogues. We, therefore, keep on gathering, cleaning, and improving our data to reach this goal.
We obtain our metadata of travel accounts from the most reliable sources, namely the best research libraries in the world. However, the data coming from even the best databases (such as those of the HathiTrust and Princeton University Library) have various inaccuracies and inconsistencies. As a result, we need to inspect every single entry manually to check the information on authors, translators, editors, publishers, years and places of publication etc. One common problem that we come across, for example, is that when we download the metadata, translators and editors (and even sometimes publishers) are listed as authors. This inflates the number of travelogue writers, which is a serious problem for our purposes.
Another problem that we face is separating real travel accounts from “fake” or “quasi-” ones. We have detected several fictional travel accounts that are added to our bibliography through semi-automatic bibliography building processes. Moreover, there are reports and treatises on the Middle East that seem, at first sight, like results of personal experiences and observations in the region, yet in fact, are written without visiting the region. Such works, despite potentially valuable information that they may contain, do not fit our (rather wide) definition of a travel account. They, therefore, are taken out of our bibliography.
In short, through meticulous efforts in collecting and cleaning the data on the travelogues, we are building “the” most accurate and reliable database of travel accounts about the 19th-century Middle East.
“With the help of computer technology this map attempts to display two different things. The black line tracks the route MT took on the Quaker City excursion. At the same time, the 13 places named in blue are active links. Clicking on any of them will take you to a passage in Innocents Abroad about that place. And when MT’s book is reconceived this way — geographically, or geo-culturally — what begins to appear is a map of the racial and ethnic prejudices shared by the book and its American audience.”
Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad; or, The New Pilgrim’s Progress :
“Published in 1869, this account of a trip east to the Old World was a great popular success. Within its first year it sold over 70,000 copies, and it remained the best-selling of MT’s books throughout his lifetime. The book began as a series of travel letters written mainly for the Alta California, a San Francisco paper that sponsored MT’s participation in the Quaker City trip to Europe and the Holy Land in 1867. Revising the letters into a book was suggested by Elisha Bliss, who published Innocents as a subscription book on July 20th, 1869.”
We will have a poster presentation at DHd 2019.
(“6. Jahrestagung Digital Humanities im deutschsprachigen Raum,” Frankfurt & Mainz, 25.03. —29.03.2019)
Poster Title: “Linked Open Travel Data: Erschließung gesellschaftspolitischer Veränderungen im Osmanischen Reich im 19. Jahrhundert im Spiegel von Reiseberichten durch ein multimediales Online-Portal mit LOD und Text Mining Funktionalität”
An online bibliography of “travel reports on the Eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire,” including some biographical notes and links to full texts:
A good list with links to author biographies and full texts:
We have exceeded 1,000 entries in our travelogues bibliography! This number includes different editions and translations of some popular works, which will give us a chance to analyze variations in different editions.
We will update our bibliography on the website soon, along with adding more information about the authors.
The Travelogues website was created within the broader project of Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation to promote Greek culture, and especially Greek literature, on a national and international level. This website aims to make known the graphic materials found in travel accounts of journeys to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean from the 15th century onwards, and thus contribute both to students’ education and scientific research. An important part of the editions that constituted the database of the website belongs to the Historical Library of the Foundation.
There is an exhaustive bibliography, and of course, the collection of graphic material available on the website.