Historical Post Office Directory Parser (POD Parser) Software From the AddressingHistory Project

Nicola Osborne, Stuart Macdonald, George Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The POD Parser is Python software for parsing the OCR’d (optical character recognised) text of digitised historical Scottish Post Office Directories (PODs) to produce a consistent structured format for the data and for geocoding each address. The software was developed as part of the AddressingHistory project which sought to combine digitised historic directories with digitised and georeferenced historic maps.

The software has potential for reuse in multiple research contexts where historical post office directory data is relevant, and is therefore particularly of use in historical research into social, economic or demographic trends. The POD Parser is currently designed for use with Scottish directories but is extensible, perhaps with some adaptation, to use with other similarly formatted materials such as the English Trade Directories.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23
JournalJournal of Open Research Software
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2014


  • historical post office directories
  • text parsing
  • OCR
  • geocoding
  • Python
  • Digital Humanities
  • parser
  • Scottish history
  • post office directories

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