Category: Articles

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Topic Modeling with MALLET: Hyperparameter Optimization

This is a short technical post about an interesting feature of Mallet which I have recently discovered or rather, whose (for me) unexpected effect on the topic models I have discovered: the parameter that controls the hyperparameter optimization interval in Mallet.[1] Yes, there are parameters, there are hyperparameters, and there are parameters controlling how hyperparameters are optimized. For a long...

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Follow-up on Simenon and Sentence-Length: Visualization and Hypothesis-Testing

In a conversation about my recent post on sentence length in Georges Simenon’s work, Fotis Jannidis said he thought the post was typical of quite a lot of recent work in digital literary studies in that it is exploratory rather than focused on hypothesis testing. I think this is true and that it is a problem. Exploratory methods, especially when...

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Detecting Transpositions when Comparing Text Versions using CollateX

The aims of this post are to explain what collation is, why detecting transpositions is special, and how to accomplish it using CollateX. The example I will be using involves comparing two versions of the recent best-selling novel The Martian by Andy Weir, a novel whose publishing history Erik Ketzan and me are currently investigating. More specifically, I will illustrate...

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Does Shorter Sell Better? Belgian author George Simenon’s use of sentence length

Belgian author Georges Simenon is probably most famous for his crime fiction novels in which police detective Maigret investigates serious crimes and elucidates them with intelligence, empathy, a team of inspectors and acquaintances, and, of course, his tobacco pipe as well as sandwiches and beers brought to his office. Simenon wrote 75 of these Maigret novels (and a certain number...

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How good are our texts, really? Quality assurance for literary texts from various sources

by Ulrike Henny and Christof Schöch — this post originally appeared on the CLiGS blog. Some weeks ago, we made our “New Year’s release” of text collections available. We publish the texts in the “CLiGS” group’s GitHub repository called “textbox“ and archive each release on Zenodo where they get a DOI. The texts are encoded in TEI with relatively detailed...

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The Schiller-Kleist Uncertainty Principle (guest post)

This is a guest post, written by Philip Dürholt, a student in the “Digital Humanities” program (BA and MA) at the Department for Literary Computing, University of Würzburg. As always, comments are welcome! I’m a student at the University of Würzburg. My subjects are Philosophy and Digital Humanities. Last winter semester I had an interesting mix of courses: Quantitative Analysis...

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Of the Digital Humanities considered as a Jazz ensemble

We frequently speak of Digital Humanities projects – in which people from one or several disciplines such as literary studies, musicology and/or art history work together with colleagues from computer science and/or statistics – using concepts like inter- or transdisciplinarity or like collaboration.[1] The danger, we quickly notice, lies in the “divison of labor” such arrangements imply. Such division of...

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Out now: French Literary Studies and the Digital Paradigm Shift

In what seems like a distant past, that is in september 2012, Lars Schneider and me organized a two-day session at the bi-annual conference of the German French Scholars’ Association in Leipzig (Frankoromanistenkongress; website no longer available!). The other day, the proceedings finally came out and we are of course very happy and proud. Just because it is digital doesn’t...

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What the perfect repository for text analysis looks like (to me)

The longer I work with various collections of literary texts, available in various formats, and for use with various tools, the more I would like to have a nice repository which me and others could use to ingest, store, transform, update and extract text collections. So what would this repository look like? Basically, I’m describing a use case, and would...

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Enhancement, Transformation, and Zukunftsmusik: Established methods of interpretation transposed into the computational realm.

One of my favorite literary genres is French twentieth-century crime fiction, roughly from the 1930s (Georges Simenon) via the 1950s (Léo Malet) to the 1970s (Jean-Patrick Manchette). This is quite a large area, so one of the things I would like to do, if the state of text digitization and copyright law will permit it some day, is to do...

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Mining Queneau and the Encyclopédie (or: back from the break)

When I went on a short holiday in August, I did not expect it would be the beginning of such a long break in my blogging activities here. Well, I have been busy! And busy mostly with things that are related less to text analysis and rather to text encoding. (Of course, a blog post in itself would be in...

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Beyond the black box, or: understanding the difference between various statistical distance measures

One of the issues we noticed time and again when using the different stylometric approches is the huge influence of settings and parameters on the results. This is not surprising, of course, and also does not question the validity of the method as such. Rather, this is the result of the current historical state of stylometry, where research on the...

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Stylometry in manuscript studies!?

When I signed up for the workshop on “Digital Manuscript Analysis” (organized by the University of Hamburg’s Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at DH2012), I expected this to be something relatively disconnected from text analysis in literary studies. Author attribution studies as they are being widely practised today are very much focused on transcribed text, which allows to...