It is no secret that over the years, Edinburgh has been the source of a great deal of inspiration for the writers who have lived in and visited the city, including the likes of Sir Walter Scott, Dame Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin, and J.K. Rowling.
Thanks to LitLong: Edinburgh – an interactive resource of Edinburgh literature – visitors and readers around the world will be able to explore the capital’s literary heritage and highlights via a free interactive app comprised of 50,000 book excerpts.
There are 1,600 different locations in Edinburgh featured in the app, each of them tied to famous writers like Robert Louis Stevenson and Irvine Welsh, revealing what they wrote about in specific parts of the city.
The app has been jointly created by two of the city’s universities: University of Edinburgh and Napier University, brought about due to the work of literary experts, computer scientists, and text-mining technology which source references to an interactive city map.
The app has been launched as part of Being Human – the nationwide festival of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) that aims to engage the public with innovative research taking place across the humanities.
Project Director Professor James Loxley says LitLong is a resource that could be adopted by other cities with a rich literary heritage. He said:
Edinburgh has a unique literary heritage. Its streets echo with the voices of countless authors and their characters. This exploration of the possibilities offered by big data for digital literary research means writers’ references to locations throughout the city can be found at the tap of a screen, or the click of a mouse.
The project has been funded by the AHRC as part of its investment in big data – the collecting, organising and interpreting of large sets of digital information. It is supported by the Edinburgh Unesco City of Literature Trust and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.