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Melville’s Marginalia Online


Dr. Elisa Barney Smith and Dr. Steven Olsen-Smith

Funding Source:

Osher Institute
Delmas Foundation


Boise State English Department
Melville’s Marginalia Online


Dr. Olsen-Smith has developed the Melville Marginalia Online project. He has had the pages of books once owned by Herman Melville scanned and presents them online. Dr. Olsen-Smith’s team is identifying locations where Herman Melville hand-wrote notes, markings or underlines in the text. These provide him and other scholars information about the process and thoughts Melville used while writing his books. We assisted him by implementing the open-source Tesseract OCR engine to convert the machine printed text contents to searchable text. We are also adding other technical Document Analysis techniques to improve the content in his system. We have looked at similarity of styles in non-text marks to distinguish the writer. We have also extracted word co-occurrence frequencies in the marginalia. Open areas include XML processing, and further linguistic analysis.


Aaron Burdin, “Feasibility of Melville Marginalia Authorship Differentiation,” Masters Thesis, Boise State University, August 2017.