Author: silver

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 information that you can make an argument about. But where exactly in the humanistic analysis

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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 for words poses a problem. Synonymy and the infinite variance of language mean that the same

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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 analyze parts of the play. We also thought hard about the text analysis process

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Men and Women in Shakespeare

n previous posts, I’ve shown how WordSeer can be used to explore small, well-defined questions: what word did Shakespeare use for ‘beautiful’? Is the occurrence of the word ‘love’ the same in the comedies and tragedies? This post is different. WordSeer has now developed enough to support a simple, but complete, exploratory analysis. The question

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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 demonstrate the collection and comparison features of WordSeer by using it to compare the usage

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“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 are only a limited number different queries they can think of to describe

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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, and will be attended by high-profile techies from Bing, Google, Blekko, and the like. Please

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