“Idea to Project: Collaborative Humanities Research.”

From the moment a scholar embarks on a research project to its eventual point of completion or further continuation, she or he would have interacted with information professionals and fellow scholars in the field, worked with library and archival collections and a multitude of electronic resources and technologies. Although much is written about the end-result of such a journey, understanding the research process itself remains an exciting area of scholarship. Each Research Spotlight will highlight a scholar’s work and the author will discuss the work by addressing the following:

What factors and interests led to this research project?
What resources (people and materials) were critical to completing this manuscript?
What opportunities and challenges did the scholar encounter in the research process?
What suggestions does the scholar have for emerging scholars in this field of study?

Prof. Mara Wade (Germanic Languages & Literatures) and her research team will be the speakers.

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The Best-Selling Algorithm

A group of scientists at Stony Brook University have developed an algorithm which can predict with 84 per cent accuracy whether a book will be a commercial success. Using a technique called “statistical stylometry,” they examine an author’s use of words and grammar. According to their study, successful books tended to include heavy use of conjunctions, and used a large number of nouns and adjectives, focusing less on verbs and adverbs. Furthermore, books that favored verbs describing thought-processes (e.g. “recognized” and “remembered”) and verbs that served to quote and report (e.g. “say”) were more successful than books that relied on verbs that are explicitly descriptive of actions and emotions (e.g. “promised,” “cried,” and “cheered”). The study drew on a number of works available through Project Gutenberg, focusing on first works from previously unseen authors. The scientists write:

“Predicting the success of novels is a curious ques-
tion among publishers, professional book reviewers,
aspiring and even expert writers alike. There are po-
tentially many influencing factors, some of which
concern the intrinsic content and quality of the book,
such as interestingness, novelty, style of writing, and
engaging storyline, but external factors such as so-
cial context and even luck can play a role. As a re-
sult, recognizing successful literary work is a hard
task even for experts working in the publication in-

For those who are looking for a little writing advice outside of the ubiquitous Strunk & White, this article might give you a thing or two to think about. And for those interested in natural language processing, the article is a must-read. See it here:

Ashok, Vikas Ganjigunte, Song Feng, and Yejin Choi. “Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels,” Emperical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), 2013.

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Introduction to Text Encoding with TEI workshop

Spend a weekend learning about the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) markup language, an important tool for digital humanities research! Take the “Introduction to Text Encoding with TEI” workshop at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) and learn the fundamentals of using XML for research, teaching, electronic publishing, and management of digital text collections. This hands-on workshop will be taught by Julia Flanders and Syd Bauman, experts known for their work on the Women Writers Project. During the two-and-a-half day course, participants will learn how to work with XML technologies to develop digital representations of texts using the TEI standard. The workshop will take place in the GSLIS building, beginning Friday, February 21 and ending Sunday, February 23, 2014.

Schedule, Cost, and Registration
Participants will meet in the GSLIS Learning Resource Lab for an introductory session on Friday evening and two full-day sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Participation is currently limited to 30 people seated at desktop workstations. Those bringing laptops will need to install a free trial version of the Oxygen XML editor – available from http://www.oxygenxml.com – on their computer prior to attending the workshop. Participants without prior markup experience will be asked to introduce themselves to TEI and XML by reading through a short suggested reading list, provided after registration.

Per person, the cost of the workshop is

  • $30 for current UIUC students;
  • $125 for UIUC faculty, staff, and alumni;
  • $300 for non-UIUC affiliates.

You must sign up and pay in advance to attend. To reserve your spot and begin the registration process, please email tei-workshop@illinois.edu with the following information:

  • your address,
  • phone number,
  • University of Illinois ID number
    • (if you are an alumni, your year of graduation)
    • (if you aren’t affiliated with the U of I, the name of the institution with which you are affiliated); and
  • whether you will bring your own laptop, and, if so,
    • which operating system you will use.

Those interested in attending the workshop are encouraged to register early as space is limited and the course fills up quickly. A registration waitlist will be kept after capacity is exceeded. Participants cancelling their reservation on or before February 14, 2014 will receive a 50% refund of their registration fee. Following this date, no refunds will be given.

This year’s workshop is co-organized by Ashley M. Clark and Megan Senseney. If you have any questions, please contact us at: tei-workshop@illinois.edu or (217) 244-5574.

About the Text Encoding Initiative
A seminal effort in the digital humanities community, the TEI is “an international and interdisciplinary standard that helps libraries, museums, publishers, and individual scholars represent all kinds of literary and linguistic texts for online research and teaching, using an encoding scheme that is maximally expressive and minimally obsolescent.” Allen Renear, GSLIS professor and interim dean, and John Unsworth, former GSLIS dean, have long been involved with the TEI community, and use of TEI markup is growing steadily. More information on the TEI can be found at the TEI Consortium website: http://www.tei-c.org/.

About the Instructors
Julia Flanders and Syd Bauman are active participants within the TEI and the Association for Computers and the Humanities. They have led numerous workshops, teaching the TEI standard to diverse groups at all levels of technical accomplishment. Julia and Syd work on the Women Writers Project (http://www.wwp.brown.edu/), a major text encoding effort of Northeastern University’s Digital Scholarship Group. Julia is Director of the Women Writers Project, as well as Professor of the Practice of English at Northeastern University. Syd is Senior Analyst for the Women Writers Project and former North American Editor of the TEI Guidelines.

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Digital Humanities Symposium, October 4th

Digital Humanities Symposium

Library Scholarly Commons, 306 Library

October 4, 2012, 8:30 a.m. – noon

Please join us on October 4th for the Digital Humanities Symposium at the Scholarly Commons to learn more about digital humanities concepts, tools, and current research projects at UIUC!

This half-day morning symposium on October 4th will feature talks and break-out sessions by UIUC faculty pursuing digital humanities research, including Professors Ted Underwood, Dianne Harris, Donna Cox, and Mara Wade.  The symposium will cover topics such as:

– BiblioTech: digital humanities at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library

– Visualization tools in digital humanities

– Graduate education and digital humanities

– Emblematica Online: a NEH-funded collaborative project in digital humanities

– Text mining tools and research

– Omeka in research and teaching

– Library services and tools for data research and data curation

– Working with I-CHASS and finding funding for your research projects

– Images and digital scholarship

Participants may be limited due to space constraints. Coffee and breakfast refreshments will be provided. If you have questions, please contact Harriett Green at green19@illinois.edu or Sarah Christensen at schrstn@illinois.edu. We look forward to seeing you on October 4th!

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Wolfram Alpha and Shakespeare

A post on the blog for the “knowledge engine” Wolfram Alpha alerted us to an intriguing use of its search functionality. Wolfram Alpha is now capable of quickly providing a broad set of information about famous literary texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare.

You can try it yourself by typing the title of a play into Wolfram Alpha’s search box. A search for The Tempest, for example, tells us that the play contains 16,222 words, 3,113 of them unique, that the longest words in the play are “disproportioned” and “notwithstanding,” and that its most frequent speaker is Prospero. Also available is a “Dialog Timeline” – a useful graphical representation of characters’ speeches during the course of the play – and information on the play’s most frequently used words. All of this information is also available for individual acts and scenes within the plays (e.g. search for “The Tempest, Act 5, Scene 1”).

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Open Access Week 2011

Open Access Week

Open Access Week 2011 is this week from October 24th-28th, and it’s a celebration for everyone:  If you read journal articles, publish journal articles, or think you might publish some day in the future, Open Access is for you!

What is “open access” you may ask? The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, the leading advocate for Open Access, defines it in their Open Access guide as

The free, immediate, availability on the public Internet of those works which scholars give to the world without expectation of payment – permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software or use them for any other lawful purpose.

Interested in learning more? Visit the Library’s Scholarly Commons for information and advice on open access and your rights as an author.  And if you want to find open access journals that you can use, check out the Directory of Open Access Journals: it lists open access journals in all disciplines, including Languages and Literatures journals and Linguistics journals.

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