Research Presentations

Saturday, February 28th 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Following the keynote address by Dr. Jennifer Guiliano, leading digital humanities scholars from UIUC will present on their research. Presentations will take place in 1000 Lincoln Hall. Please consult the complete schedule for more information.

Research Presentations

Research Presentation I: Analyzing Text

Ted Underwood, Department of English and Michael Black, I-CHASS
10:45–11:45 AM

The first part of this talk surveys the range of humanistic questions where text analysis can be useful. and suggests that simple methods can be valuable, and that there are many ways to mix close reading of selected passages with quantitative sketches of a big picture. On the other hand, it’s important to admit that we’re talking about methods which imply particular ways of framing questions — not about universally applicable “tools.”

The second part of the presentation will focus on interpreting big data in the context of text analysis. Applying text analysis tools to a large corpus can be a complex interpretive process. This presentation will discuss the exploratory, reflexive, and cyclical nature of interdisciplinary research on “big” data in the humanities using examples from past and current projects.

Research Presentation II: Bringing computational social science to the real world: impact assessment of issue-focused public media

Jana Diesner, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
2:00–3:00 PM

How can we capture the social impact of storytelling in a comprehensive, rigorous and efficient fashion? How can we design for social change motivated by issue-focused public media products? Both philanthropic foundations and scientific organizations have recently started to reconsider the question of how to measure the impact of the work they are funding by going beyond narrowly defined, quantitative metrics. In collaboration with makers and sponsors of public interest media, we have developed, tested and evaluated a computational approach to impact assessment that is grounded in social science theories. Our approach combines and leverages techniques from network analysis and natural language processes. The resulting methodology is being applied to data typically used in the Digital Humanities, i.e. large amounts of structured and unstructured text data from a variety of sources. In my talk, I will speak about our experience in working with practitioners on developing a practical and accurate solution to the given problem, lessons learned from a series of empirical studies, and scientific innovation resulting from this collaborative effort. For the purpose of this work, we have been developing ConText, a publicly available technology designed to help researchers and practitioners in the Digital Humanities and Computational Social Sciences to construct different types of network data based on text data.

Research Presentation III: Getting Going: DIY GIS in Scholarship and the Classroom

John Randolph, Department of History
3:30–4:30 PM

This talk will describe the author’s attempts to use spatial analysis techniques in the study and teaching of Russian history, as a non-GIS specialist.

Resource Lightning Round


The mission of ATLAS is to provide reliable and secure information technology services that support and enhance the educational, research and administrative activities of students, faculty and staff in LAS.


The Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (I-CHASS) offers humanities, arts, and social sciences scholars access to hardware, computer applications, graphical user interfaces and portals, and educational opportunities to train them to best use these resources.

Cline Center for Democracy

The Cline Center for Democracy is dedicated to advancing human flourishing around the world by using extreme-scale analysis of global news coverage to extract structured insight out of unstructured information, equip researchers with new tools for transforming that insight into deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of social conflict, and empower decision makers to apply this understanding in ways that promote societal well-being around the world.

HathiTrust Research Center

The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) is a unique collaboration between the University of Illinois and Indiana University, in cooperation with the HathTrust. HTRC is the official research branch of the HathiTrust, a 100-member partnership and digital library that centrally collects image and text representations of library holdings digitized by the Google Books project and other mass-digitization efforts (~13 million volumes).

Illinois Campus Cluster

An increasing number of disciplines are leveraging high performance computing types of resources in support of their research. Example uses include sorting through, analyzing, and visualizing large and unstructured data sets such as digitized historical newspaper collections. This presentation will give a brief description of the Illinois Campus Cluster Program and how it can be potentially utilized for digital humanities work.

Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities

The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) promotes interdisciplinary study in the humanities through numerous lectures, symposia, and panel discussions on a wide variety of topics, and provides awards that recognize excellence in humanities research to faculty and students. IPRH also supports faculty-driven initiatives through its Research Clusters initiative, and provides support to faculty and graduate student reading groups.

Research Data Service

The Research Data Service (RDS) is a newly formed campus-wide service headquartered in the University Library that provides the Illinois research community with the expertise, tools, and infrastructure necessary to manage and steward research data.

Scholarly Commons

The Scholarly Commons in the University Library is a technology enriched space for faculty, researchers, and graduate students to pursue research and receive expert copyright, data, digital humanities, digitization, scholarly communications, and usability consultation services.