Each of these projects explores what is possible when libraries open their collections to data scientists, allowing them to apply data mining algorithms to catalog, mine, visualize and create new ways of interacting with these vast archives. The results of such “big data” analyses by this new generation of “data librarians” yields new tools and datasets that can subsequently be used by ordinary citizens and journalists to transform how they access and understand the world.
Category Archives: Big Data
Here is another thoughtful article, this time from The Chronicle of Higher Education, about the need to theorize the role of software in digital media, especially the way users interact with digital materials (the article is linked below). Although not the major point of the article, the author Lev Manovich makes an interesting observation about digital humanities:
Over the past few years, a growing number of scholars in the digital humanities have started to use computational tools to analyze large sets of static digitized cultural artifacts, such as 19th-century novels or the letters of Enlightenment thinkers. They follow traditional humanities approaches—looking at the cultural objects (rather than peoples’ interaction with these objects). What has changed is the scale, not the method.
Instead, Manovich argues that “peoples’ interaction with these objects” — not documents, but performances–is the data of the future, and software not only makes new sorts of interactions possible, it is also the means for tracking and analyzing those interactions.
The current issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly examines definitions and understandings of “The Literary” as inflected by the digital humanities.
Digital data and databases have become indisputable resources for literary study, not just for archival research but also literary interpretation, and the amount of data available in text form — think Google Books, Project Gutenberg, and UPenn’s Online Books Page — continues to grow at an astonishing rate. Big data is big news, and visualizations have attracted the attention of those usually focused on text. This situation begs the questions: What constitutes literary data, and what is the role of the literary in the digital humanities? These questions inspire this special issue of the DHQ.