Introducing… the Victorian Meme Machine!

By |June 18th, 2014|Featured|0 Comments

Introducing... the Victorian Meme Machine! What would it take to make a Victorian joke funny again? Nothing short of a miracle, you might think. After all, there are few things worse than a worn-out joke. Some provoke a laugh, and the best are retold to friends, but even the most delectable gags are soon discarded. While the great works of Victorian art and literature have been preserved and celebrated by successive generations, even the period’s most popular jokes have now been lost or forgotten. Fortunately, thousands of these endangered jests have been preserved within the British Library’s digital collections. I applied to this year’s British Library Labs Competition because I wanted to find these forgotten gags and bring them back to life. Over the next couple of months we’re going to be working together on a new digital project – the ‘Victorian Meme Machine’ [VMM]. The VMM will create an extensive database of Victorian jokes that will be available for use by both researchers and members of the public. It will analyse jokes and semi-automatically pair them with an appropriate image (or series of images) drawn from the British Library’s digital collections and other participating archives. Users will [...]