WordSeer 3.0

We’re thrilled to announce the latest release of WordSeer! After almost a year of improvements, WordSeer is now capable of much more than it ever was. You can now filter, get overviews of a collection, do side by side comparisons,

Posted in Digital Humanities, Text Mining, Visualization, WordSeer

How do you read? An analysis of survey responses.

A big question for me, as a designer of text analysis tools for the humanities is: how do the tools I’m building fit in? Sure, you can have fancy word trees and grammatical search histograms. Sure, they’re chock-full of interesting

Posted in Digital Humanities

Empirical Study: Finding Examples of a Theme, by Example

A common task in literature study is to find examples of a theme. Until now, literary scholars searching for examples have had to rely on searching for sets of words they think are associated with the theme. Theme-finding by searching

Posted in Digital Humanities, Natural Language Processing

WordSeer 2: Test users wanted

A new version of WordSeer is in the works. It’s been guided by the advice of our long-suffering literature-scholar collaborators. And by the tales of frustration and trial-and-error of the students of the Hamlet class who tried to use WordSeer to

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Posted in Community, Digital Humanities, WordSeer

WordSeer: “love” in Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies

When scholars try to make sense out of large collections of text, they frequently do two things: compare, and collect. They collect samples of “interesting” things, and compare them with each other along various relevant dimensions. In this post, I

Posted in Information Seeking, Text Mining, Visualization, WordSeer

“Beautiful” in Shakespeare

A common problem in search and exploration interfaces is the vocabulary problem. This refers to the great variety of words with which different people can use to describe the same concept. For people exploring a text collection, this makes search difficult. There

Posted in Text Mining, WordSeer

Digital Humanities and the Future of Search

On Tuesday, Feb. 1, I’ll be presenting my latest project WordSeer, at the Farsight 2011 conference on the future of search.  This event will be streamed live from TechCrunch, the tech world’s favorite blog about new technology and startup news,

Posted in Digital Humanities, Information Seeking, Natural Language Processing, Text Mining

WordSeer: Exploring Language Use in Slave Narratives

More and more source text in the humanities gets digitized every day, making it accessible to large scale computational analysis. Nevertheless, traditional methods of humanistic analysis are based on detailed arguments built upon on close readings of individual texts. How

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Posted in Digital Collections, Digital Humanities, Information Seeking, Natural Language Processing, Visualization

Extracting Social Networks from 19th Century Novels

This year’s conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics, the most prestigious event in computational linguistics, had a paper that got me very excited. It’s called Extracting Social Networks from Literary Fiction [pdf], and here’s the abstract (emphasis added): We

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Posted in Digital Humanities, Natural Language Processing

Tools for Exploring Text: Natural Language Processing

Take an example question that a literary scholar might have,

“How is the character Mary talked about in this text from by author X”?

It’s fairly open ended – what does “talked about” mean? How do we translate this into computational terms? In this post, I’ll describe some tools that natural language processing (NLP) has to offer, and show how each can be used to tackle this question along with pointers to sofware and tutorials.

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Posted in Digital Humanities, Natural Language Processing, Text Mining