I am a Lecturer in Digital History at the Department of Politics, History and International Relations at Loughborough University. The main focus of my research and publication has been Scottish emigration, including both settlement communities and those who remained in Scotland, and I am particularly interested in the role of newspapers in public perceptions of demography and migration.
My current research project is Scissors and Paste, which utilises digitised newspapers to explore the possibilities of mining large-scale newspaper databases for reprinted and repurposed news content. The project has involved the development of a suite of tools and methodologies, created using both out-of-the-box and custom-made project-specific software, to efficiently identify reprint families of journalistic texts and then suggest both directionality and branching within these subsets. From these case-studies, detailed analyses of additions, omissions and wholesale changes offer insights into the mechanics of reprinting that left behind few if any other traces in the historical record.
In my search for a more perfect understanding of past migrations, I have come to believe that those models that have been developed throughout the humanities and social sciences to describe modern globalisation can and should be used to understand the social, cultural and economic networks of the past. More importantly, should these models contradict historical evidence, this must be fed back to practitioners in other fields in order to better refine our collective knowledge. To promote a more collaborative research community, I am an ardent supporter of social media for academic purposes and am happy to discuss my research and teaching through the various networks with which I am affiliated.