Weekly Create – Week 3

Reviewing Franco Moretti’s “Graphs, Maps, and Trees: Abstract Models for Literary Theory”, I began to realize the possibilities becoming available as new ideas and technologies allow us to express ideas in ways that weren’t formerly possible. His abstract method of visual expression accommodates those accustomed to that style of learning, like myself. Upon further research into tools such as Google ngram, I discovered the technology was born out of the spirit of collaboration — a fusion of scholarly input from those at Harvard and MIT, and without this collaboration, its creation wouldn’t be possible.

In “Text: A Massively Adressable Object”, Michael Witmore cites his collaboration with Jonathan Hope on Shakespeare’s First Folio plays, their collaboration with Martin Mueller at Northwestern on a collection of early modern drama, along with the Universities of Wisconsin and Michigan to negotiate, collaborate, and expand a collection of digitized works to mass one-thousand items. This synthesis of collaborators, innovators, and creators in English departments, libraries, and the field of computer sciences connotes an interdisciplinary convergence beginning to manifest itself in response to the technological shift surrounding the digital humanities.

Regarding Google ngram, I found it an interesting tool in the way that I found Moretti’s e-text an interesting resource, explaining why I opened citing my reaction to it’s aesthetic. The tool charts a visual trajectory of a specific term(s) from a corpora of text much more extensive than the collection Witmore references. I found that the terms ‘technology’ and ‘digital’ appear more times than ‘humanities’, ‘synthesis’, or ‘convergence’ ever do. But to narrow it down to the basics, the terms ‘digital’, appearing to become relevant around the mid-50’s and early 60’s, is more relevant to the corpora of materials than ‘humanities’, which does not make a significant impact on the chart until the 1980’s.  Since the latter existed before the former, my expectations would be a reversal of that outcome. I punched the terms in a few different sequences with the other related terms above just to make sure that was the general consensus because I found it nearly unbelievable. I do acknowledge, however, I was a lay-man to this technology not a week ago.


Another tool I would like to explore is ‘Umigon’, because I see the utility in Twitter as a new media resource, despite its classification as a social networking tool. In order to understand how to use the tool, I will have to read up on Clement Levallois’ “Umigon: sentiment analysis on Tweets based on terms lists and heuristics”.

Franco Moretti: Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History (ebook st. john’s library

Witmore, “Text: A Massively Addressable Object” in Debates in the Digital Humanities (open source ebook)

Levallois, Clement. “Umigon: sentiment analysis on Tweets based on terms lists and heuristics”. Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval 2013), June 2013, Atlanta, Georgia.


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