More on distant reading!

A few of you are working on projects that involve some form of distant reading or macroanalysis

XKCD-ngram-grab-tiredCulturomics: for those of you using Google’s N-Gram viewer, you’ll find it useful to know more about what’s going on behind the scenes, as it were, including its development, context, and guidance on interpretation. Check out the Culturomics website; also its webpage Bookworm offers other N-Gram viewers and digital archives other than Google’s.

There has also been a debate taking place in DH across blogs and twitter about validity and representativeness when it comes to analysing a large corpus of texts (such as Google Books or Hathi Trust). A number of our own discussions have revolved around the representativeness of the corpus of eighteenth-century titles or works you have created in workshops and the validity of the analyses you have produced. A good place to start is Scott Weingart’s blog essay ‘Not Enough Perspectives I’. You don’t necessarily have to follow up on all the links, but check out his valuable comments on ‘The Great Unread’ (pace Franco Moretti),  ‘Tsundoko’ (Japanese word for an ever-increasing pile of books bought but not read), and ‘the Forgotten Read’. See also Ted Underwood’s earlier post ‘Distant Reading and Representativeness’.


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