Literary and Linguistic Computing - current issue

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EVI-LINHD, a virtual research environment for the Spanish-speaking community

Thu, 12/10/2017 - 23:00
AbstractLaboratorio de Innovación en Humanidades Digitales (UNED) has developed Entorno Virtual de Investigación del Laboratorio de Innovación en Humanidades Digitales (EVI-LINHD), the first virtual research environment devoted mainly to Spanish speakers interested in digital scholarly edition. EVI-LINHD combines different open-source software for developing a complete digital project: (1) a Web-based application markup tool—TEIscribe—combined with an eXistdb solution and a TEIPublisher platform, (2) Omeka for digital libraries, and (3) WordPress for simple Web pages. All these instances are linked to a local installation of the LINDAT/Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN) digital repository. LINDAT/CLARIN allows EVI-LINHD users to have their projects deposited and stored safely. Thanks to this solution, EVI-LINHD projects also improve their visibility. The specific metadata profile used in the repository is based on Dublin Core, and it is enriched with the Spanish translation of DARIAH’s Taxonomy of Digital Research Activities in the Humanities.

Digital palaeography: What is digital about it?

Tue, 26/09/2017 - 23:00
AbstractCompared to the epistemic traditions digital palaeography builds on, how is it transformative? In this article I will outline the emergent meanings and possible research directions of digital palaeography by reflecting on the past 15 years of approaches and conceptualizations in the field. By departing from a contextualized take of the term digital coupled with humanities and palaeography, I will show how digital approaches relate to the scholarly tradition of the study of handwriting and writing systems as a whole and how recent approaches of digital palaeography can be defined as critical, self-reflective, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. Moving between a formal and a historically situated analysis, I will relate practices of modelling of handwriting in digital palaeography to modelling in digital humanities more generally. Digital palaeography will emerge well positioned to represent the complexity of handwritten objects from the unfamiliar perspective of the substance of the expression of handwriting (text as shape).

Visualizing Mouvance : Toward a visual analysis of variant medieval text traditions

Tue, 12/09/2017 - 23:00
AbstractMedieval literary traditions provide a particularly challenging test case for textual alignment and the visualization of variance. Whereas the editors of medieval traditions working with the printed page struggle to illustrate the complex phenomena of textual instability, research in screen-based visualization has made significant progress, allowing for complex textual situations to be captured at the micro- and the macro-level. This article uses visualization and a computational approach to identifying variance to allow the analysis of different medieval poetic works using the transcriptions of how they are found in particular manuscripts. It introduces the notion of a meso-level visualization, a visual representation of aligned text providing for comparative reading on the screen, all the while assembling non-contradictory, intuitive solutions for the visual exploration of multi-scalar variance. Building upon the literary notion of mouvance, it delves into medieval French literature and, in particular, different visualizations of three versions of the Chanson de Roland (the Oxford, the Châteauroux, and the Venice 4 manuscripts). The article presents experimental prototypes for such meso-level visualization and explores how they can advance our understanding of formulaically rich medieval poetry.


Thu, 10/08/2017 - 23:00
What the theory of the Digital Humanities is, what defines them is an open question; their practice is much easier to describe. Few people, if any, when asked to describe that practice, will avoid to point to the annual conference on Digital Humanities organized by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO). If the program of a conference dedicated to the Digital Humanities and drawing an audience of over 900 does not describe its field, what would? The conference has been the largest so far of the series, attracting 650 submissions of all types, of which roughly11 60% have been accepted as result of the 2,874 reviews of individual submissions received. The same acceptance rate resulted in thirty-three pre-conference events of fifty-five submitted ones. It has been the privilege of the undersigned to organize this conference locally and act as the chair of its program committee in its 2016 edition at Kraków.

Knowledge creation through recommender systems

Thu, 10/08/2017 - 23:00
AbstractThe way materials are archived and organized shapes knowledge production (Derrida, J. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Vancouver: University of Chicago Press, 1996; Foucault, M. L’archéologie du savoir. Paris, France: Éditions Gallimard, 1969; Kramer, M. Going meta on metadata. Journal of Digital Humanities, 3(2), 2014; Hart, T. How do you archive the sky? Archive Journal, 5, 2015; Taylor, D. Save As. e-misférica, 9, 2012). We argue that recommender systems offer an opportunity to discover new humanistic interpretative possibilities. We can do so by building new metadata from text and images for recommender systems to reorganize and reshape the archive. In the process, we can remix and reframe the archive allowing users to mine the archive in multiple ways while making visible the organizing logics that shape interpretation. To show how recommender systems can shape the digital humanities, we will look closely at how they are used in digital media and then applied to the digital humanities by focusing on the Photogrammar project, a Web platform showcasing US government photography from 1935 to 1945.

First We Feel Then We Fall : James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake as an interactive video application

Mon, 07/08/2017 - 23:00
AbstractThe article describes First We Feel Then We Fall, a multichannel, interactive video application, which is a multimedia adaptation of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. It offers the viewers a portmanteau-like audiovisual experience resembling the experience of reading Joyce’s enigmatic, multilingual dream-like narrative. Through an audiovisual format consisting of simultaneously running streams, it proposes an intermedial translation of hypertextuality and simultaneity of Finnegans Wake. The Wakean imagery, euphonies, rhythms, and polyphonic contexts are rendered into four narrative strands, or ‘plots’. Networks of linguistic, historical, symbolic, and mathematical meanings entailed in Wakean puns are transposed into a dynamic audiovisual structure that the audience can co-shape in the process of interactive viewing. They can switch at will between four simultaneous streams of film clips accompanied by sound (and optional captions with the Finnegans Wake text). The interactive and immersive nature of First We Feel Then We Fall goes beyond previous cinematic adaptations of Joyce’s novel. It is the advance of digital technologies that have enabled us to approach complexity of Finnegans Wake in this novel way.

Qu’est-ce qu’un texte numérique?—A new rationale for the digital representation of text

Thu, 03/08/2017 - 23:00
AbstractIn this article we aim to provide a minimally sufficient theoretical framework to argue that it is time for a re-conception of the notion of text in the field of digital textual scholarship. This should allow us to reconsider the ontological status of digital text, and that will ground future work discussing the specific analytical affordances offered by digital texts understood as digital texts. Following from the argument of Suzanne Briet regarding documentation, referring to Eco’s understanding of ‘infinite semiosis’, and accounting for the reciprocal effects between carrier technology and meaning observed by McLuhan, we argue that the functions of document and text are realized primarily by their fluid nature and by the dynamic character of their interpretation. To define the purpose of textual scholarship as a ‘stabilisation’ of text is therefore fallacious. The delusive focus on ‘stability’ and discrete ‘philological fact’ gives rise to a widespread belief in textual scholarship that digital texts can be treated simply as representations of print or manuscript texts. On the contrary—digital texts are texts in and of themselves in numerous digital models and data structures which may include, but is not limited to, text meant for graphical display on a screen. We conclude with the observation that philological treatment of these texts demands an adequate digital and/or computational literacy.

Beauty is truth: Multi-sensory input and the challenge of designing aesthetically pleasing digital resources

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 23:00
AbstractCertain problems in the design of digital systems for use in cultural heritage and the humanities have proved to be unexpectedly difficult to solve. For example, Why is it difficult to locate ourselves and understand the extent and shape of digital information resources? Why is digital serendipity still so unusual? Why do users persist in making notes on paper rather than using digital annotation systems? Why do we like to visit and work in a library, and browse open stacks, even though we could access digital information remotely? Why do we still love printed books, but feel little affection for digital e-readers? Why are vinyl records so popular? Why is the experience of visiting a museum still relatively unaffected by digital interaction? The article argues that the reasons these problems persist may be due to the very complex relationship between physical and digital information and information resources. I will discuss the importance of spatial orientation, memory, pleasure, and multi-sensory input, especially touch, in making sense of, and connections between physical and digital information. I will also argue that, in this context, we have much to learn from the designers of early printed books and libraries, such as the Priory Library and that of John Cosin, a seventeenth-century bishop of Durham, which is part of the collections of Durham University library.

Comparing the intertextuality of multiple authors using Tesserae: A new technique for normalization

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 23:00
AbstractThe influences which shaped Roman literature can be traced through the classical practice of imitatio, wherein ancient writers established their literary credibility by reusing the language of their predecessors. Scholars of imitatio use digital tools like the application provided by the open-source Tesserae project to rapidly identify these moments of intertextual engagement between texts. Recent scholarship leverages the scale of Tesserae search results as a measurement of authorial influence. However, to date there is no established methodology for comparing the scale of search results that involve multiple source and target authors. With a theoretically sound technique for normalizing the number of connections discovered by intertextual software, we can meaningfully compare the results of various searches. Such a comparison represents a first step toward measuring the impact of multiple authors upon entire eras of literature. This article proposes a method of normalization of search results which makes it possible to compare the rate of intertextuality across any pair of source and target texts. We illustrate our technique with an investigation of the relative intertextuality of Julius Caesar and Marcus Tullius Cicero with two sets of authors from distinct periods of Roman literature. The results of our quantification are in line with the assertions of philologists on the literary influence of these figures, and support the efficacy of our approach for comparing the relative rates of intertextuality for multiple authors.

Dialogism in the novel: A computational model of the dialogic nature of narration and quotations

Mon, 17/07/2017 - 23:00
AbstractUnderstanding how spoken language is represented in novels over time is a key question in the Digital Humanities. We propose a new metric for characterizing spoken dialogue in the novel, called dialogism, that instantiates Bakhtin’s claim that all texts are fundamentally dialogic. This measurement uses abstract grammatical features in a span of text (such as the use of pronouns, mood, or subordinate clause structure) to measure the extent to which the span is dialogic, i.e. exhibits the grammatical structures common to natural spoken dialogue. We use this metric to explore the dialogism of 1,100 largely canonical English novels over 230 years. We combine quantitative and qualitative investigation of the dialogic properties of both dialogue and narration to show novel stylistic properties of literary innovation during three periods: the late 18th century, the turn of the 19th century, and the mid-20th century. We find that during these moments, certain authors reject literary conventions by changing the dynamic between the narrative and dialogue portions of the texts. Our analysis shows that these changed dynamics are behind rises in persuasive writing, reflections of psychological processes, and the use of dialogue as an increasingly important driver of the novel as a whole. These results show that computational models that characterize style grammatically, generalizing across time and genre, can lead to literary and methodological insights.

Analyzing and visualizing ancient Maya hieroglyphics using shape: From computer vision to Digital Humanities

Sat, 08/07/2017 - 23:00
AbstractMaya hieroglyphic analysis requires epigraphers to spend a significant amount of time browsing existing catalogs to identify individual glyphs. Automatic Maya glyph analysis provides an efficient way to assist scholars’ daily work. We introduce the Histogram of Orientation Shape Context (HOOSC) shape descriptor to the Digital Humanities community. We discuss key issues for practitioners and study the effect that certain parameters have on the performance of the descriptor. Different HOOSC parameters are tested in an automatic ancient Maya hieroglyph retrieval system with two different settings, namely, when shape alone is considered and when glyph co-occurrence information is incorporated. Additionally, we developed a graph-based glyph visualization interface to facilitate efficient exploration and analysis of hieroglyphs. Specifically, a force-directed graph prototype is applied to visualize Maya glyphs based on their visual similarity. Each node in the graph represents a glyph image; the width of an edge indicates the visual similarity between the two according glyphs. The HOOSC descriptor is used to represent glyph shape, based on which pairwise glyph similarity scores are computed. To evaluate our tool, we designed evaluation tasks and questionnaires for two separate user groups, namely, a general public user group and an epigrapher scholar group. Evaluation results and feedback from both groups show that our tool provides intuitive access to explore and discover the Maya hieroglyphic writing, and could potentially facilitate epigraphy work. The positive evaluation results and feedback further hint the practical value of the HOOSC descriptor.

Analysing and understanding news consumption patterns by tracking online user behaviour with a multimodal research design

Wed, 28/06/2017 - 23:00
AbstractUnderstanding people’s online behaviour has traditionally been a field of interest of commercial research agencies. However, academic researchers in a variety of fields are interested in the same type of data to gain insights in the Web behaviour of users. Digital Humanities scholars interested in the use of digital collections are, e.g., interested in the navigation paths of users to these collections. In our case we wanted (1) to analyse the way news consumers visit news websites and (2) understand how these websites fit in their daily news consumption patterns. Until now most common applied scholarly research methods to analyse online user behaviour focus on analyses of log files provided by website owners or recalled user behaviour by survey, diary, or interview methods. Only recently scholars started to experiment with gathering real-world data of Web behaviour by monitoring a group of respondents. In this article we describe the set-up of ‘The Newstracker’, a tool that primarily allowed us to analyse online news consumption of a group of young Dutch news users on their desktop and laptop computers. We demonstrate the workflow of the Newstracker and how we designed the data collection and pre-processing phase. By reflecting on the technical, methodological, and analytical challenges we encountered, we illustrate the potential of online monitoring tools such as the Newstracker. We end our article with discussing its limitations by stressing the need for a multimethod study design when aiming not only to analyse but also to understand online user behaviour.