How to Create Topic Clouds with Lexos

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Some Background

Topic modelling is gaining increasing momentum as a research method in Digital Humanities, with MALLET as the general tool of choice. However, many would-be topic modellers have struggled to make effective use of MALLET’s output, which is raw data. In fact, there has been a growing movement to devise methods of visualising topic modelling data generally. A while back, Elijah Meeks had an idea for generating topic clouds: separate word clouds for each topic in the model. [I can’t seem to access his original blog post, but here is his code on GitHub.] Although word clouds have their problems as visualisations, Meeks speculated that they were particularly effective for examining topics in a topic model. Indeed, others have used word clouds to visualise topic modelling results, most notable Matt Jockers in the digital supplement to his Macroanalysis. One of the things I liked about Meeks’ implementation using d3.js was that it placed the clouds next to each other so that they could be compared.

I quickly transferred this idea to our work on the Lexomics project, and our software Lexos. In Lexomics, we frequently cut texts into chunks or segments, which can then be clustered to measure similarities and differences.… Read more…

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Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

I’m at the DH 2014 conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, and enjoying it immensely, despite cold and rainy weather which should be impossible in July. I’ve just delivered my paper “Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic” (abstract here), along with colleagues Mia Ridge and Brian Croxall (co-author Amy Papaelias couldn’t make it but contributed remotely). Iʼll blog more on the conference itself in a separate post, but for now I thought Iʼd put my portion of the presentation online. Hereʼs Miaʼs portion, and here Brian’s portion.

Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

Hi, Iʼm Scott Kleinman, and my job is to introduce you to the One Week | One Tool experience which led to the creation of Serendip-o-matic. One Week | One Tool was a summer institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was organised by Tom Scheinfeldt and Patrick Murray-John, and hosted by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The idea for One Week | One Tool was inspired by models of rapid community development and advertised as a digital “barn-raising”, in which a diverse group of twelve DH practitioners would gather “to produce something useful for humanities work and to help balance learning and doing in digital humanities training.” The entire process from conception to release was to occur in six days.… Read more…

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