Philosophers trace influences by analyzing ideas found in texts using a sophisticated qualitative method. This method is successful, but very time-consuming and requires highly specialized skills.

A quantitative method to trace influences can be developed by using citation-tracking visualization software (e.g. Citeology).
However, this method is applicable only to present-day texts, which use a standard citation format.
For older texts the quantitative method is inapplicable because they don't use standard citation formats. Yet tracing influences in older texts is important because often ideas have a long, insightful, and interesting history.

In this project we want to extend the quantitative method to trace influences to historical texts using crowdsourcing.
Our test-case will be a 2000-page work in blackletter-script German by the philosopher and mathematician Bernard Bolzano, the Wissenschaftslehre (1837).

People involved

Arianna Betti (Axiom Group, VU University)
Johan Blok (Associate member Axiom Group/Groningen University)
Hein van den Berg (Axiom Group, VU University)
Iris Loeb (Axiom Group, VU University)
Stefan Roski (Axiom Group, VU University)

State of affairs

We are currently looking for funding for this project.