Post-Authorial Influences in Quantitative Analysis

Note: This post is part of a series reworkings of materials originally written between 2009 and 2012. A description of the nature and purpose of this project can be found here.

Back when I was a PhD student, I tried to do some basic quantitative analysis with the Dictionary of Old English corpus, but my move into work on regionalism in the early years of this century seems to have taken me away from further research of this nature. Then in 2009, the Lexomics project seems to have captured my interest. My vague memory is that I was already thinking about how to detect regional discourses quantitatively, but the first of my blog posts in September of that year has me returning to Old English in order to begin thinking through the methodological challenges involved. At that time, the first Lexomics tools were emerging, and Peter Stokes seems to have provided an initial response to them (I think in “The Digital Dictionary”, Florilegium 26 (2009), but I don’t have it to hand to make sure).  Stokes comments on a comparison of the works of Ælfric with the West Saxon translation of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History:

Indeed, the project team complained that their software was “identifying Ælfric as Ælfric and Bede as Bede”, rather than finding one’s use of the other.… Read more…

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Exploring Quantitative Methods in the Humanities: An Introduction

Over the last couple of years I have had a private blog on which I’ve posted numerous thoughts and methodological experiments, in part because it was an effective way of keeping track of them. The blog was originally created to foster communication for a collaborative project with Mike Drout, but I quickly developed a category for discussion of Lexomics, the computational stylistic analysis technique he has been developing at Wheaton College. Many of my posts ended up being contributions to the development of the lexomics method (as well as similar methods, such as topic modelling).

For some time now, I have been considering making these posts, incomplete as they are, available on my public blog. This is in part an endorsement of trends in the Digital Humanities: the increasing emphasis on open access and scholarship as process, as well as product. But it is also due to a realisation that many of speculations were moving beyond how to achieve certain results using lexomics and into broader questions of interest to the DH community. My first thought was simply to re-post materials from the private to the public blog, but, particularly because of the latter development, I have decided to make this an opportunity to re-work the material as an excuse to deepen my thoughts about the significance of lexomics and similar forms of research in the Humanities more broadly.… Read more…

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This web site is currently undergoing a re-design. I have gone back and forth about how to organise the content and come to the conclusion that simplicity is the best solution for me. So I have decided to opt for a minimalistic design with an emphasis on text. Most significantly, the home page is now my blog, instead of a static front page. This is a departure for me, so we’ll see how it goes. I still haven’t figured out how my course web pages will work with the new design–that’s the next task.

In any event, there may still be a few tweaks in the next couple of days. But the new, slimmed down version of is now up and running.… Read more…

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