What we ended up with was a new way of seeing and understanding the records — not as the remnants of bureaucratic processes, but as windows onto the lives of people. All the faces are linked to copies of the original certificates and back to the collection database of the National Archives. So this is also a finding aid. A finding aid that brings the people to the front.
According to Margaret Hedstrom the archival interface ‘is a site where power is negotiated and exercised’. Whether in a reading room or online, finding aids or collection databases are ‘neither neutral nor transparent’, but the product of ‘conscious design decisions’. We would like to think that this interface gives some power back to the people within the records.
Editors’ Note: Many scholars working in the Digital Humanities are thinking about the theory, design, and social and pedagogical impact of games. The posts below cover some of the variety of issues within this field. Further discussion will occur at THATCamp Games, January 20-22, 2012 at the University of Maryland-College Park. Please Tweet @dhnow or email dhnow [at] pressforward [dot] org if you have more to suggest. *updated 12/1/11*
Ted Underwood has been talking up the advantages of the Mann-Whitney test over Dunning’s Log-likelihood which is currently more widely used. I’m having trouble getting M-W running on large numbers of texts as quickly as I’d like, but I’d say that his basic contention–that Dunning log-likelihood is frequently not the best method–is definitely true, and there’s a lot to like about rank-ordering tests.
Before I say anything about the specifics, though, I want to make a more general point first, about how we think about comparing groups of texts.The most important difference between these two tests rests on a much bigger question about how to treat the two corpuses we want to compare.
Collaboration is the lynchpin to supporting all of this productivity, learning, experimenting, and knowledge acquisition. This unwritten goal was reinforced by a few tech industry magnates at Stanford’s BiblioTech Symposium last year: the CEOs want liberal arts and humanities doctoral students who can command language, interpret technical jargon into metaphor and narrative, and work collaboratively in team situations. Humanities scholars often think of themselves as the lonely bibliophiles in the library stacks, quietly slaving over monographs. But, Digital Humanities has altered that paradigm — even required that Humanists consider exposing their collaborative work, even if it isn’t digitally-inclined.
My point here is not that there are no philosophers developing digital content or using information technology to further philosophical research: David Bourget’s PhilPapers.org John Immerwahr’s teachphilosophy101.org and Andy Cullison’s sympoze.com are notable examples of excellent and innovative uses of informational technology to advance philosophy. At the same time, there are a number of notable philosophers thinking about the interface of technology and ourselves- David Chalmers, Luciano Floridi and Andy Clark spring to mind.
There are not, however, numerous examples of philosophers using techniques of the digital humanities to _do_ philosophy or using digital tools to teach philosophy.
On an incredibly basic, overly simplified level, philosophy is interested in the discovery, development, classification and analysis of human concepts and reasoning.
Instead, let me suggest for public libraries and the DPLA a new mission and vision, one that taxpayers WILL support for many years to come because no other competitor does it, and because if it is explained and implemented properly (see: nationally) it will build stronger, smarter communities, and ultimately build a stronger, smarter country. In one sentence: public libraries need to support information production with the same level of commitment that they’ve always treated information consumption.
First and foremost, digitization of natural history collections and tools to make these digitized records available, such as VertNet, support global biodiversity research. We suspect that the majority of use of digitized records will be to generate products such as species distribution models and change assessments, and to answer questions about what is in any given museum collection. However, in the broader context of academic endeavor, these data could also serve as a unique link between the digital sciences and the digital humanities. Work in the digital humanities includes everything from crowdsourcing manuscript transcription to humanistic fabrication to data mining — work that is not so dissimilar in method, description, or data type from that in the digital sciences.
The digital humanities in the West, has been biased towards text as the bearer of culture. The foundational stories and early concerns of computing in the humanities are around concording and text analysis. Humanities computing has branched out to digitize other cultural forms, but even so we tend to focus on digitizing and creating databases of tangible cultural artefacts like paintings, archaeological sites, movies, and so on. By contrast, as I have written before, in Japan a large percentage of the traditional arts from the Bunrako to Noh are in the class of intangible cultural property. Intangible cultural traditions are supported aggressively in Japan through support to individual masters and organizations to support for preservation activities.
According to Google Scholar, David Blei’s first topic modeling paper has received 3,540 citations since 2003. Everybody’s talking about topic models. Seriously, I’m afraid of visiting my parents this Hanukkah and hearing them ask “Scott… what’s this topic modeling I keep hearing all about?” They’re powerful, widely applicable, easy to use, and difficult to understand — a dangerous combination.
Since shortly after Blei’s first publication, researchers have been looking into the interplay between networks and topic models. This post will be about that interplay, looking at how they’ve been combined, what sorts of research those combinations can drive, and a few pitfalls to watch out for.
I thought, why not map the places that had Wikipedia articles associated with them, to see what patterns emerged. The results of this excursion are presented below.
DBpedia is the ongoing attempt to transform Wikipedia into a semantically rich and queryable database of human knowledge. It stores much of the categorical information found in Wikipedia articles using RDF triples–simple links for every snippet of data, from the death date of a famous (and sometimes even real) person to the season number of every Simpsons episode, to the latitude and longitude of over half a million articles on a wide variety of subjects.
Jon is the director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and he brought with him two undergraduate research assistants, Jenny Rempel