Articles from Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (formerly LLC)

In defense of sandcastles: Research thinking through visualization in digital humanities

AbstractAlthough recent research acknowledges the potential of visualization methods in digital humanities (DH), the predominant terminology used to describe visualizations (prototypes and tools) focuses on their use as a means to an end and, more importantly, as an instrument in the service of humanities research. We introduce the sandcastle as a metaphorical lens and provocative term to highlight visualization as a research process in its own right.

Attributing the Bixby Letter using n-gram tracing

AbstractThere is a long-standing debate about the authorship of the Bixby Letter, one of the most famous pieces of correspondence in American history. Despite being signed by President Abraham Lincoln, some historians have claimed that its true author was John Hay, Lincoln’s personal secretary. Analyses of the letter have been inconclusive in part because the text totals only 139 words and is thus far too short to be attributed using standard methods.

A curious case of entropic decay: Persistent complexity in textual cultural heritage

AbstractTo understand an author’s developmental trajectory, the static traits and properties of author reconstruction and profiling are not sufficient. Instead, it is necessary to focus on high-level indicators of the complex set of variables that underlie the author’s transient mental states during his or her creative production. We propose a method that combines information theory with random fractal theory to study the mental dynamics of an author as indicated by text complexity.

Johnson, ‘Misargyrus’, and Richard Bathurst

AbstractFour letters in the Adventurer are currently attributed to Johnson, who allegedly disguised his style so that they could be plausibly ascribed to his friend Richard Bathurst. A stylometric analysis, supported by internal evidence, finds the case for disguise implausible, and suggests that the letters are a collaboration between Johnson and Bathurst.

Informing library-based digital publishing: Selected findings from a survey of scholars' needs in a contemporary publishing environment

AbstractLibrary-based publishing initiatives are on the rise in a rapidly diversifying scholarly publishing ecosystem. This article presents selected results from a US-based survey on the needs of humanities scholars in a contemporary publishing environment, emphasizing survey responses that shed light on key aspects of access for scholars seeking to publish: access to support services, access to content, and access to audience.

Robert Musil, a war journal, and stylometry: Tackling the issue of short texts in authorship attribution

AbstractDuring World War I (WWI), between 1916 and 1917, Robert Musil was the chief editor of the Tiroler Soldaten-Zeitung in Bozen. This activity probably also involved authorship of articles and has posed a philological problem to scholars, who have not been able to attribute with certainty a range of relatively short texts to Musil. With this article, we present a new approach that combines philological research with stylometric methods.

An ontology and a memory island to give access to digital literature works

AbstractWe have designed an ontology to index a corpus of digital literature works. We have given this ontology the shape of a memory island, a navigable virtual territory where categories are regions and descriptor places, and where archives of these ephemeral works are made accessible.

Generation, implementation, and appraisal of an N-gram-based stemming algorithm

AbstractA language-independent stemmer has always been looked for. Single N-gram tokenization technique works well; however, it often generates stems that start with intermediate characters, rather than initial ones. We present a novel technique that takes the concept of N-gram stemming one step ahead and compare our method with an established algorithm in the field, say, Porter’s stemmer for English, Spanish, and Portuguese languages. Results indicate that our N-gram stemmer is comparable with the Porter’s linguistic stemmer.

Toward a model for digital tool criticism: Reflection as integrative practice

AbstractIn the past decade, an increasing set of digital tools has been developed with which digital sources can be selected, analyzed, and presented. Many tools go beyond key word search and perform different types of analysis, aggregation, mapping, and linking of data selections, which transforms materials and creates new perspectives, thereby changing the way scholars interact with and perceive their materials. These tools, together with the massive amount of digital and digitized data available for humanities research, put a strain on traditional humanities research methods.

Text-world annotation and visualization for crime narrative reconstruction

AbstractTo assist legal professionals with more effective information processing and evaluation, we aim to develop software to identify and visualize the key information dispersed in the unstructured language data of a criminal case. A preliminary model of the software, Worldbuilder, is described in Wang et al. (2016a, b).