Touching the Senses: Smell

“Researchers plan library of scents from plague repellents to early tobacco”

In the works: an online encyclopedia of European odors between the 16th and early 20th centuries. What a fabulous resource this will be for writers needing to describe the smell of (for instance) a sorcerer’s library filled with musty old books, or a chatterbag housekeeper’s richly scented kitchen.

“Once you start looking at printed texts published in Europe since 1500 you will find loads of references to smell, from religious scents – like the smell of incense – through to things like tobacco,” said Dr. William Tullett of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, a member of the Odeuropa team and the author of Smell in Eighteenth-Century England.

The first step in the three-year project, which is due to begin in January, will be to develop artificial intelligence to screen historical texts in seven languages for descriptions of odours – and their context – as well as to spot aromatic items within images, such as paintings.

That information will be used to develop an online encyclopaedia of European smells  …

See the full article in The Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/nov/17/scents-of-history-study-hopes-to-recreate-smells-of-old-europe

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