19.691 text-analytic fantasies and realities

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2006 07:00:40 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 691.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: Matthew Jockers <mjockers_at_stanford.edu> (29)
         Subject: Re: 19.687 text-analytic fantasies and realities

   [2] From: Pat Galloway <galloway_at_ischool.utexas.edu> (15)
         Subject: Text Analysis as a literary clock

         Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2006 06:55:14 +0100
         From: Matthew Jockers <mjockers_at_stanford.edu>
         Subject: Re: 19.687 text-analytic fantasies and realities


What you are asking for is exactly what I have been working on for
several years now. At last year's meeting of the ACH/ALLC (Uvic) I
presented some preliminary results in my paper titled "A
Macro-Economic Model for Literary Research." I am especially
interested in time-series analysis (the ties to macroeconomics are
obvious here) and in looking for possible correlations between
literary productivity, style, etc. and market, social, historical and
geographical forces. I've got three chapters in a book ms done, and
next year I will be in residence at the Stanford Humanities Center
completing the manuscript and rewriting a tool set I developed to
support this work. The original tools I developed in php, but now
I'm working in Java and tweaking the XTF text archiving application
so that I have the power of Lucene indexing on the backside.

More important to your own interests and to those of other list
members, --while at the Humanities center next year I'll be running a
workshop titled "Literary Studies and the Digital Library: Beyond
Search and Access" in which I'll bring together scholars, librarians,
content vendors, and developers for discussions about these sort of
subjects--how can we leverage all of the digital content coming on
line for new sorts of research?

My plan is to make these meetings public via web cast and/or video
conf. At the very least as pod casts. As soon as the details are
available, I'll post to the list.

In the meantime, thanks for posting the suggestion--it reconfirms the
sanity of my project.


Matthew L. Jockers
Stanford University
         Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2006 06:55:46 +0100
         From: Pat Galloway <galloway_at_ischool.utexas.edu>
         Subject: Text Analysis as a literary clock
Why not just instrument an author experimentally and "watch" her
composing digitally? It would certainly be worth a single experiment
with a willing author. The main problem would be preserving the
resulting files and logs in a functional state long enough to analyze
them, and even that could be achieved if the author in question could
be persuaded to use an open-source writing platform. Though you'd
also need to bring in the world and record the author's online
activities during the same time in doing research, browsing, etc. as
well. Away back in the early 1980s I was curious about how writers'
practice would change as they moved from typewriter to computer, and
I had an agreement from someone now very well-known to be
instrumented down to the keystroke--but the folks who were giving the
grants from Apple Computer that I applied for just weren't
interested. Ah, lost opportunities. But this idea from Ryan Deschamps
could be very workable and maybe even fundable...
Pat Galloway
Received on Tue Apr 04 2006 - 02:14:37 EDT

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