Friday, August 24, 2012

Interactive Map Traces Publication Data for Wealth of Nations

An interactive map developed the metaLab folks at Harvard shows the changing publication geography of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations from its first edition in 1776 through 2001. To use the map at the Harvard site, one can select a date on the left-hand vertical bar and the map will show hotspots of publication locations; by clicking on individual points within the "hotspots," one can see the publication information for each edition; if one clicks on any city that appears, a box will show all the editions published in that city throughout the period covered. Alternatively, by selecting "play," one can allow the map to show the publication data sequentially for the whole period. One learns, for example, that there were 422 editions of The Wealth of Nations by 2010, that the first Moscow edition was published in 1895, and that an edition appeared in Shanghai (in Chinese) in 1901. For more details, click on the "about" choice, which will bring up an instruction panel on the lower right of the map.
   The underlying data for the map was compiled from Keith Tribe's A Critical Bibliography of Adam Smith (2002).
    metaLAB is "a research and teaching unit at Harvard University dedicated to exploring and expanding the frontiers of networked culture in the arts and humanities." Scholars there are engaged in a number of exploratory digital projects.