When data exploration produces Christmas-themed charts, that’s a sign it’s time to post again. So here’s a chart and a problem.

First, the problem. One of the things I like about the posts I did on author age and vocabulary change in the spring is that they have two nice dimensions we can watch changes happening in. This captures the fact that language as a whole doesn’t just up and change–things happen among particular groups of people, and the change that results has shape not just in time (it grows, it shrinks) but across those other dimensions as well.

I like this essay by John Jones about search algorithms, which he compares to “mechanical Turk” automatons of the 18th Century.

It’s a point that’s well-understood in some circles and completely not in others. Witness the degree to which users continue to express some preference for couching search queries to Google and Siri in the form of natural-language questions: according to Bo Pang and Ravi Kumar, that tendency seems to be steadily increasing as users become more familiar with the functioning of search engines rather than decreasing. Users sometimes relate to Google as if it were an oracle, a non-human being with its own personality and knowledge.

Fred and I got some fantastic comments on our Hermeneutics of Data and Historical Writing paper through the Writing History in the Digital Age open peer review. We are currently working on revising the manuscript. At this point I have worked on a range of book chapters and articles and I can say that doing this chapter has been a real pleasure. I thought the open review process went great and working with a coauthor has also been great. Both are things that don’t happen that much in the humanities. I think the work is much stronger for Fred and I having pooled our forces to put this together.

Editors’ Note:  For those interested in networks and network visualization, a series of posts from Scott Weingart and Elijah Meeks that introduce, explain, and provide examples and instructions for the analysis of networks are linked below. *updated 1/4/12*

Has been a long time since I started working (with others) on building a new model of (Mozilla) community here in Barcelona and around…. When I refer to a new model of community, I mean designing new processes, creating new event frameworks that can invite others to participate and adopting new practices for community development. That can mean interacting with people you’ve never did before, start conversations with other communities of practice, delegate responsibility and act as a coach for the new, future community leaders. This may seem uncomfortable, but after starting doing it you’ll have a lot of fun.

Spatializing photographic archives, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, entailed the release of open source software for recovering the 3D geometry of a location from photographs taken from diverse angles (and even at different times); and a case study of Richard Misrach’s landscape photography demonstrating the value of this approach for scholars.

We’ve now completed an extensive and carefully illustrated White Paper for this NEH-sponsored project, a large pdf of which you may find here. (26.5mb).

The White Paper describes the open-source software tool we’ve developed, and our reasons for wanting to forge a new approach to making digital tool for scholars. It also examines the implications of our approach for photography.

Last week, the Walker Art Center launched a major website redesign, which museum geeks are hailing as “a potential paradigm shift for institutional websites,” (Seb Chan) and an “earth-shaking game changer” (Museumnerd). Here’s what I see: a website as a unique core offering–alongside, but not subservient to, the physical institution. Walkerart.org is not about the Walker Art Center. It is the Walker Art Center, in digital form.

The new site resembles an online newspaper, featuring articles written by Walker staff alongside stories from the greater world of art reporting on the web.