Press articles overs 200 years

A partnership between the DHLABLe Temps and the Swiss National Library has lead to the realisation of an innovative interface allowing to navigate through these 200 years of historical newspapers. This archive is composed of the digitised version of the “Le Journal de Genève”, “La Gazette de Lausanne” and “Nouveau Quotidien”.

The new website was released on 18 March 2016.

On the web interface, after an initial search the visitor is granted the possibility to refine his or her results by consulting and potentially manipulating an interactive n-gram viewer (see figure below). The results are updated at once. This search engine is to historical newspaper ressources what the Google’s PageRank system is to Internet navigation : an efficient tool helping the reader to efficiently reach relevant informations, whether it is consulting the epoch where a term is popular or on the contrary nearly absent.

n-gram results for Ramuz

Named entities

Moreover, the DHLAB released around 50 millions of mentions of people and places and made them available through a SparQL endpoint. This endpoint allows users to extract all the functions in the society of a given person over time, or on the contrary to extract all the people who occupied a given function, e.g. violonists (see figure below).

sparql endpoint

Currently, this data set is being scrutinised in research ongoing at the lab, by students for their semester projects, in Master courses (Digital Humanities I & II, Big Data), and in the new (2015-2016) Bachelor course of Prof. Frédéric Kaplan, «Humanités Digitales». 

Eventually, the new interface has allowed this archive to reach a wider audience, as shown by a lively Facebook group dedicated to some hidden gems found inside these articles.


This project benefited from the Swiss National Library of 2 years of funding for a post-doc position.


Vincent Buntinx, PhD student
Maud Ehrmann, post-doc
Cyril Bornet, PhD student
Vincent Barbay, systems engineer
Giovanni Colavizza, PhD student
Yannick Rochat, post-doc (Apr 2014 – Mar 2016)

Scientific committee of the project

Alain Clavien, Professeur, Histoire contemporaine, Université de Fribourg
Marie-Christine Doffey, Directrice, Bibliothèque Nationale Suisse
Gaël Hurlimann, Rédacteur en chef Digital, Le Temps
Joëlle Kuntz, Journaliste, Le Temps
Enrico Natale, Directeur,
François Vallotton, Professeur, Centre des sciences historiques et de la culture, Université de Lausanne