HIST680: Module 7 – Textmining (1)

MODULE 7 SECTION OVERVIEW

This section of the course explores text mining software tools commonly used in the digital humanities.  The module begins with readings that provide an overview of the types of text mining tools, and then a set of example projects, for each of which there are readings and a brief video interview with one of the creators.

The first activity in the module asks you to analyze those projects and answer a series of questions, and then offer an overview of the tool: With what kind of information can this tool be used? What can this tool tell us about a set of information? What questions can you ask with the tool?

The second activity in the module involves hands-on work with an example of Voyant, a text mining tool. The dataset for those practicum activities are the WPA Slave Narratives. This collection consists of more than two thousand interviews with former slaves from seventeen states collected in the years 1936-1938 by staff of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration. The interviews are available in the public domain as images and uncorrected OCR as part of the Library of Congress American Memory site, and as transcriptions as part of Project Gutenberg. These interviews are a complex source; make sure you read the following background material before you work with them:

Sharon Ann Musher, “The Other Slave Narratives: The Works Progress Administration Interviews,” in The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative, ed. John Ernest (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 101-118. [I have emailed you this reading]

After completing the hands-on activity, the final activity is to return to your overview of the tool and to review it in the light of your practicum work. After making any changes you think are necessary, you will add the overview to your portfolio, incorporating your practicum work as an example where you think is appropriate.

You will use the same dataset for the next three modules which will offer the chance to compare what each tool tells us about the material.

 

Readings

 

ROBOTS READING VOGUEhttp://dh.library.yale.edu/projects/vogue/

Please answer these questions in a Word document

  1. What kind of information is the project trying to convey?

  2. What story is the project telling?

  3. What kind of interactivity does the project have?

  4. What software is the project using?

 

QUANTIFYING KISSINGER.

Please answer these questions in a Word document

  1. What kind of information is the project trying to convey?

  2. What story is the project telling?

  3. What kind of interactivity does the project have?

  4. What software is the project using?

 

SIGNS@40: Feminist Scholarship through Four Decades.” http://signsat40.signsjournal.org/.

Please answer these questions in a Word document

  1. What kind of information is the project trying to convey?

  2. What story is the project telling?

  3. What kind of interactivity does the project have?

  4. What software is the project using?

 

COMPARE PROJECTS

Please answer these questions in a Word document

  1. With what kind of information can this tool be used?

  2. What can this tool tell us about a set of information?

  3. What questions can you ask with the tool?

 

NEXT: Text-Mining with Voyant