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The Curious Case of Digital Humanities 2011/08/12

Posted by nydawg in Digital Humanities.
Tags: ,

Something to think about: all this aggregated data (or words), but
what does it mean?!!   Does anyone else find this emerging field of “Digital Humanities” a little opaque?!  Just remember: much of this aggregated info will be effected (and affected) by OCR errors!

Digital Humanities story from Dec 31, 1956:  “So last week at the  Jesuit philosophical institute known as the Aloysianum (for St.  Aloysius Gonzaga) in Gallarate, near Milan, man put his electronic  brains to work for the glory of God. The experiment began ten years  ago, when a young Jesuit named Roberto Busa at Rome’s Gregorian  University chose an extraordinary project for his doctor’s thesis in  theology: sorting out the different shades of meaning of every word  used by St. Thomas Aquinas. But when he found that Aquinas had written  13 million words, Busa sadly settled for an analysis of only one word—  the various meanings assigned by St. Thomas to the preposition “in.”  Even this took him four years, and it irked him that the original task  remained undone.

<a href=”http://www.google.com/url?sa=D&q=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,867529,00.html” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,867529,00.html

sounds familiar, right?  from the ny times 2011: “Scholars in the
growing field of digital humanities can tackle this question by
analyzing enormous numbers of texts at once. When books and other
written documents are gathered into an electronic corpus, one
“subcorpus” can be compared with another: all the digitized fiction,
for instance, can be stacked up against other genres of writing, like
news reports, academic papers or blog posts.


or “When There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Information” :
“STILL, the software industry is making a big bet that the data-driven decision making described in Mr. Brynjolfsson’s research is the wave of the future. The drive to help companies find meaningful patterns in the data that engulfs them has created a fast-growing industry in what is known as “business intelligence” or “analytics” software and services. Major technology companies — I.B.M., Oracle, SAP and Microsoft — have collectively spent more than $25 billion buying up specialist companies in the field.

or [apologies for extra ads on the nytimes site] from 2010: “Analyzing Victorian Literature by Words and Numbers”: “But now, he explained, vast digital libraries present “for the first time the possibility that we can conduct a comprehensive survey of Victorian writing — not just the well-known Mills and Carlyles, but tens of thousands of lesser-known or even forgotten authors.””



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