Location Cloud Visualization

The Location Cloud Visualization shows the relation between a selected commodity and its related location. The visualization is based on over 170000 documents from digital historical archives (see list of archives below).

The purpose of the visualization is to provide a general overview of how the importance of location mentions in relation to a particular commodity changed between 1800 and 1920.

Please note that the visualization will only work with newer versions of the Chrome Browser.

Entering a commodity of interest (e.g. “coffee”) brings up a timeline view that lists the top 50 locations mentioned in relation to the selected commodity by decade.


The font size of the location labels indicates how often they were mentioned in relation to the selected commodity “coffee” (frequencies are normalized based on the total number of commodity/location mentions in that decade).


The little world map on the top of the page shows the frequency of locations mentioned in relation to “coffee” by continent – darker colours represent more mentions. Hovering over the continents provides the exact number of mentions.


The histogram next to the map shows the distribution of locations based on their total number of mentions. We can see that most locations mentioned in relation to “coffee” are only mentioned less than 20 times. Both the world map and the histogram can be used as filters to adjust the location cloud.



Hovering over a location label, shows its frequency of mention in relation to the selected commodity. Also, the same location within other decades are highlighted. The continent that the selected location belongs to is highlighted as well. This is useful to distinguish different locations that have the same name (e.g. Newcastle).


Alternatively, any location can be entered in the search query at the top. This will highlight the entered location in the location cloud.

Selecting a location label brings up a detailed chart of commodity-location mentions across the years, normalized based on the overall number of location mentions in each year. Also, samples sentences are shown to provide some context in which the commodity and location were discussed.


Upon request, a full list of relevant documents and sentences in which the commodity and location occur in are shown in a new window.


Data Sources

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office Collection (JSTOR) (700 documents)
  • Directors’ Correspondence Archive (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Archives)(18446 documents)
  • Confidential Prints (AMD) (1269 documents)
  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (ProQuest) (52142 documents)
  • Early Canadiana Online (106348 documents)
    Women’s History, English Canadian Literature, History of French Canada, Native Studies, Hudson’s Bay Company, Early Governors General of Canada, Early Official Publications, Jesuit Relations, Early Canadian Periodicals, Health and Medicine
  • Miscellaneous (300 documents from a variety of sources)

For more information on these sources view our corpus page and our project partners and funders page.


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