Toponym Disambiguation in Historical Documents Using Network Analysis of Qualitative Relationships


Authors: Ludovic Moncla, Katherine McDonough, Denis Vigier, Thierry Joliveau, and Alice Brenon
Abstract: In this paper we use network analysis to identify qualitative “neighbors” for toponyms in an eighteenth-century French encyclopedia, but could apply to any entry-based text with annotated toponyms. This method draws on relations in a corpus of articles, which improves disambiguation at a later stage with an external resource. We suggest the network as an alternative to geospatial representation, a useful proxy when no historical gazetteer exists for the source material’s period. Our first experiments have shown that this approach goes beyond a simple text analysis and is able to find relations between toponyms that are not co-occurring in the same documents. Network relations are also usefully compared with disambiguated toponyms to evaluate geographical coverage, and the ways that geographical discourse is expressed, in historical texts.
Organized by Bruno Martins, Ludovic Moncla and Patricia Murrieta-Flores