Visualizing English Print (Seminar)

For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a fall 2016 semester seminar.

With the release of EEBO-TCP transcriptions, scholars of early modern literature have access to far larger collections of texts than before. However, making use of large collections requires different strategies for exploration. In Visualizing English Print (VEP), funded by the Mellon Foundation, scholars have explored ways to create a new “scalable scholarship” amplifying the traditional techniques of literary study (such as close reading) with the computational thinking that is required to interact with corpora that are far too large for any individual to read. This seminar will introduce approaches to statistical scholarship that integrate with (rather than replace) more traditional literary approaches. Its goals are to enable scholars to work with the EEBO-TCP collection (or similar corpora) in scalable ways, to discuss the choices and issues involved in performing large-scale studies, and to establish a scholarly community of practice around VEP’s data and methodologies as it seeks collaborative partners for its next phase of development. Sessions will introduce specific tools, methods, and datasets; discuss issues in using transcribed texts and statistical methods; provide example case studies; and allow participants to discover how these approaches can fit with their own inquiries.

Directors: Michael Gleicher is Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Michael Witmore is Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library; and Jonathan Hope is Professor of Literary Linguistics at Strathclyde University, Glasgow. They are jointly responsible for the project. You can read their forthcoming paper, “Digital Approaches to Shakespearean Tragedy,” online.