corporaexplorer v0.8.1.1


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A 'Shiny' App for Exploration of Text Collections

Facilitates dynamic exploration of text collections through an intuitive graphical user interface and the power of regular expressions. The package contains 1) a helper function to convert a data frame to a 'corporaexplorerobject', 2) a 'Shiny' app for fast and flexible exploration of a 'corporaexplorerobject', and 3) a 'Shiny' app for simple retrieval/extraction of documents from a 'corporaexplorerobject' in a reading-friendly format. The package also includes demo apps with which one can explore Jane Austen's novels and the State of the Union Addresses (data from the 'janeaustenr' and 'sotu' packages respectively).


corporaexplorer: An R package for dynamic exploration of text collections

status License: GPL
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“I really like the application and its simplicity. It looks great and is very functional. … a nice addition to text analysis tools.”
Kenneth Benoit, creator of quanteda, professor of computational social science at LSE

“I really enjoyed interacting with corporaexplorer. This is exciting work that opens up doors for non-technical users.”
Tyler Rinker, creator of sentimentr and qdap

– Featured in RStudio’s “R Views” blog’s “Top 40 New R Packages” for September 2019

plotting example

plotting example

Illustration screenshots

What is corporaexplorer?

corporaexplorer is an R package that uses the Shiny graphical user interface framework for dynamic exploration of text collections.

corporaexplorer is designed for use with a wide range of text collections; one example could be a collection of tens of thousands of documents scraped from a governmental website; another example could be the collected works of a novelist; a third example could be the chapters of a single book.

corporaexplorer’s intended primary audience are qualitatively oriented researchers who rely on close reading of textual documents as part of their academic activity, but the package should also be a useful supplement for those doing quantitative textual research and wishing to visit the texts under study. Finally, by offering a convenient way to explore any character vector, it can also be useful for a wide range of other R users.

While collecting and preparing the text collections to be explored requires some familiarity with R programming, using the Shiny apps for exploring and extracting documents from the corpus should be fairly intuitive also for those with no programming knowledge, once the apps have been set up by a collaborator. Thus, the aim is for the package to be useful for anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of R – or with collaborators who have such knowledge.


To install the released version from CRAN, simply run the following from an R console:


Alternatively, to install the development version from GitHub, run the following from an R console:


corporaexplorer works on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. (The Shiny apps look much clunkier on Windows than on the other platforms, but the apps are fully functional.)

Note to developers: The package’s internal test suite uses the shinytest package, which requires that PhantomJS is installed. This can be done through the shinytest::installDependencies() function.

How to cite

Please cite the following paper if you use corporaexplorer in your research.

Gjerde, Kristian Lundby. 2019. “corporaexplorer: An R package for dynamic exploration of text collections.” Journal of Open Source Software 4 (38): 1342.

For a BibTeX entry, use the output from citation(package = "corporaexplorer").


For usage instructions and example corpora, see the package web page.

Demo apps

The package includes two demo apps.

To explore Jane Austen’s novels (data accessed through the janeaustenr package):


To explore the US presidents’ State of the Union addresses (data accessed through the the sotu package):


For more info, see and, and also the function references.

A note on platforms and encoding

corporaexplorer works on Mac OS, Windows and Linux, and there are some important differences in how R handles text on the different platforms. If you are working with plain English text, there will most likely be no issues with encoding on any platform. Unfortunately, working with non-ASCII encoded text in R (e.g. non-English characters), can be complicated – in particular on Windows.

On Mac OS or Linux, problems with encoding will likely not arise at all. If problems do arise, they can typically be solved by making the R “locale” unicode-friendly (e.g. Sys.setlocale("LC_ALL", "en_US.UTF-8")). NB! This assumes that the text is UTF-8 encoded, so if changing the locale in this way does not help, make sure that the text is encoded as UTF-8 characters. Alternatively, if you can ascertain the character encoding, set the locale correspondingly.

On Windows, things can be much more complicated. The most important thing is to check carefully that the texts appear as expected in corporaexplorer’s apps, and that the searches function as expected. If there are problems, a good place to start is a blog post with the telling title “Escaping from character encoding hell in R on Windows”.

For (a lot) more information about encoding, see this informative article by David C. Zentgraf.


Contributions in the form of feedback, bug reports and code are most welcome. Ways to contribute:

Functions in corporaexplorer

Name Description
create_sotu_df Create a data frame with State of the Union texts and metadata
test_data A tiny test dataset to test basic functionality
get_df Retrieve the document data frame from a corporaexplorerobject
transform_365 Convert "data_dok" tibble to "data_365" tibble
prepare_data Prepare data for corpus exploration
print.corporaexplorerobject Print corporaexplorerobject
get_matrix Split up returned list from matrix_via_r()
run_document_extractor Launch Shiny app for retrieval of documents from text collection
run_corpus_explorer-deprecated Deprecated: run_corpus_explorer()
%>% Pipe operator
demo_sotu Demo apps: State of the Union addresses
explore Launch Shiny app for exploration of text collection
get_term_vector Split up returned list from matrix_via_r()
demo_jane_austen Demo app: Jane Austen's novels
corporaexplorer-deprecated Deprecated functions in package corporaexplorer
create_test_data Create test_data
include_columns_for_ui_checkboxes Values for custom UI sidebar checkbox filtering
transform_regular Adjusts data frame to corporaexplorer format
matrix_via_r Create document term matrix for fast search of single words
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Type Package
License GPL-3 | file LICENSE
Date/Publication 2020-02-07 17:50:02 UTC
LazyData true
RoxygenNote 7.0.2
Encoding UTF-8
NeedsCompilation no
Packaged 2020-02-07 08:49:49 UTC; Kristian
Repository CRAN

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