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A century of telephony: digital capture of British telephone directories, 1880-1984

Tanu, Nikki; Gibin, Maurizio; Hu, Di; Longley, Paul A; (2024) A century of telephony: digital capture of British telephone directories, 1880-1984. Annals of GIS 10.1080/19475683.2024.2331509. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

We describe the creation of a data resource for charting the adoption of fixed line telephony in Great Britain over the period 1880–1984, of which the period 1880–1951 is available for wide research use. We first evaluate the use of various open-source software and then develop the novel teldiR open-source package to capture digitally encoded scans of all available telephone directories at ten-yearly intervals throughout this period and document the quality control checks used to establish the provenance of the resulting digital records. Our research demonstrates the feasibility of digitally encoding scans of historical telephone directories, and suggests potential analytical extensions to this work, including georeferencing of subscriber records. This research is seen not only as facilitating geographical analysis of the adoption of fixed line telephony, but also as creating a bridge between historical analysis of residential mobility, migration, and changing geodemographic structure in the years between (now digitized) historical censuses and present day digital sources. The digital resource arising from this research is available for bona fide research use.

Type: Article
Title: A century of telephony: digital capture of British telephone directories, 1880-1984
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/19475683.2024.2331509
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19475683.2024.2331509
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group, on behalf of Nanjing Normal University. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Keywords: Telephone directory; digitization; innovation adoption
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10190133
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