Introduction by OpenMethods Editor (Joris van Zundert): Concepts are described differently in different times, and the way people talk about them reveals much about how people perceive these concepts. Researchers of the eScience Center in Amsterdam together with scholars from Utrecht University developed a visual tool to gain insight into such concept shift.
In different times, people use different words to describe concepts. Change and stability in word usage are possible indicators of wider socio-cultural changes. To gain insight into how people perceive concepts, it is valuable to trace how the words denoting a certain concept change over time. Existing tools for exploring historical concepts, such as keyword searching or topic modeling, are ill-suited for the task; they are either too top-down or too rigid for an iterative exploration of historical concepts in large data sets. In this article, we present ShiCo: a graphical interface for visualising concepts over time by monitoring shifts in word usage in a document corpus.
Original publication date: 2016.