Find research data repositories for the humanities – the data deposit recommendation service

Find research data repositories for the humanities – the data deposit recommendation service

Introduction: Finding  suitable research data repositories that best match the technical or legal requirements of your research data is not always an easy task. This paper, authored by Stephan Buddenbohm, Maaikew de Jong, Jean-Luc Minel  and Yoann Moranville showcase the demonstrator instance of the Data Deposit Recommendation Service (DDRS), an application built on top of the re3data database specifically for scholars working in the Humanities domain. The paper  also highlights further directions of developing the tool, many of which implicitly bring sustainability issues to the table.

BERT for Humanists: a deep learning language model  meets DH

BERT for Humanists: a deep learning language model meets DH

Introduction: Awarded as Best Long Paper at the 2019 NACCL (North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics) Conference, the contribution by Jacob Devlin et al. provides an illustration of “BERT: Pre-training of Deep Biredictional Transformers for Language Understanding” (https://aclanthology.org/N19-1423/).

As highlighted by the authors in the abstract, BERT is a “new language representation model” and, in the past few years, it has become widespread in various NLP applications; for example, a project exploiting it is CamemBERT (https://camembert-model.fr/), regarding French. 

In June 2021, a workshop organized by David Mimno, Melanie Walsh and Maria Antoniak (https://melaniewalsh.github.io/BERT-for-Humanists/workshop/) pointed out how to use BERT in projects related to digital humanities, in order to deal with word similarity and classification classification while relying on Phyton-based HuggingFace transformers library. (https://melaniewalsh.github.io/BERT-for-Humanists/tutorials/ ). A further advantage of this training resource is that it has been written with sensitivity towards the target audience in mind:  in a way that it provides a gentle introduction to complexities of language models to scholars with education and background other than Computer Science.

Along with the Tutorials, the same blog includes Introductions about BERT in general and in its specific usage in a Google Colab notebook, as well as a constantly-updated bibliography and a glossary of the main terms (‘attention’, ‘Fine-Tune’, ‘GPU’, ‘Label’, ‘Task’, ‘Transformers’, ‘Token’, ‘Type’, ‘Vector’).

Voluntad y deseo en la filosofía moderna: un acercamiento computacional

Voluntad y deseo en la filosofía moderna: un acercamiento computacional

Introduction: in this study, Cebral Loureda analyzes how will and desire are conveyed in: Ethics, by Spinoza; The Phenomenology of Spirit, by Hegel; The World as Will and Representation, by Schopenhauer; and Thus spoke Zarathustra, by Nietzsche. With the idea of determining theses texts’ degree of cohesion, the author follows a computational and quantitative methodology to compare and contrast them, as well as assess their internal contradictions. A normalized corpus, statistics and visualizations are employed so as to evaluate the terminology, topoi and sentimentality of these works.  In relation to terminology, author’s findings revealed that Nietzsche uses a highly differentiated vocabulary from that of the other philosophers, adding marked emotional connotations to his discourse. Visualizations showed the terminological commonalities between Hegel and Schopenhauer and shed light on the former bearing the highest number of semantic connections with the other philosophers.  As for topoi, results showed there is a clear dichotomic tension between conceptual and vital experience in the studied documents. Redefining this dualism, however, Cebral Loureda observed that the concrete is always intertwined with the abstract and vice versa.  Regarding the sentimental dimension of these works, examination unveiled that Nietzsche’s presents the greatest negative sentimental load. In contrast, Spinoza’s is the most emotionally balanced. With all this, Cebral Loureda proves that there is a high degree of cohesion among these philosophical works, which link reason and emotion to will, time and spirit, core notions of modern philosophy and society.

The First of May in German Literature

The First of May in German Literature

Introduction by OpenMethods Editor (Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra): Research on date extractions from literature brings us closer to answering big questions of “when literature takes place”.  As Frank Fischer’s blog post, First of May in German literature shows, beyond mere quantification, this line of research also yields insights on the cultural significance of certain dates. In this case, the significance of 1st of May in German literature (as reflected in the “Corpus of German-Language Fiction” dataset) was determined with the help of a freely accessible data set and the open access tool HeidelTime. The brief description of the workflow is a smart demonstration of the potential of open DH methods and data sharing in sustainable ways.

Bonus one: the post starts out from briefly touching upon some of Frank’s public humanities activities.

Bonus two: mention of the Tiwoli (“Today in World Literature”) app, a fun side product built on to pof the date extraction research.

TAO IC Project: the charm of Chinese ceramics.

TAO IC Project: the charm of Chinese ceramics.

Introduction: Among the Nominees in the ‘Best DH Dataset’ of the DH Awards 2020, the TAO IC Project (http://www.dh.ketrc.com/index.html) leads us in a fascinating journey through the world of Chinese ceramics. The project, which is developed in a collaborative way at the Knowledge Engineering & Terminology Research Center of Liaocheng (http://ketrc.com/), exploits an onto-terminology-based approach to build an e-dictionary of Chinese vessels. Do you want to know every detail about a ‘Double-gourd Vase I’? If you consult ‘Class’ in the ‘Ontology’ section (http://www.dh.ketrc.com/class.html), you can discover the component, the function, from what such a vessel is made of, and what is the method to fire it. If you also wish to see how the vase appears, under ‘Individuals’ of the same section you can read a full description of it and, also, see a picture (http://www.dh.ketrc.com/class.html). All this information is collected in the e-dictionary for each beautiful item belonging to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

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What Counts as Culture? Part I: Sentiment Analysis of The Times Music Reviews, 1950-2009 – train in the distance

What Counts as Culture? Part I: Sentiment Analysis of The Times Music Reviews, 1950-2009 – train in the distance

Introduction: This blog post by Lucy Havens presents a sentiment analysis of over 2000 Times Music Reviews using freely available tools: defoe for building the corpus of reviews, VADER for sentiment analysis and Jupiter Notebooks to provide a rich documentation and to connect the different components of the analysis. The description of the workflow comes with tool and method criticism reflections, including an outlook how to improve and continue to get better and more results.

Visualizando libros difundidos y censurados durante la Guerra Fría: 1956-1971. El caso Alfred Reisch

Visualizando libros difundidos y censurados durante la Guerra Fría: 1956-1971. El caso Alfred Reisch

Introduction: This article explores the potential use of data-driven methods to visualise and interpret the impact of Western efforts to influence Cold War dynamics using a covert book distribution programme. Based on a documentary corpus connected to the 2013 book by Alfred Reisch, which documented efforts by the CIA to disseminate books in the Soviet Bloc in the period 1956-1971, the authors use the Tableau Public platform to re-assess information science methods for researching historical events. Their analysis suggests that books distributed did not tend to have a more obvious political slant, but were more likely to have a broader universalist outlook. While it skirts around some of the limitations of visualization (highlighted elsewhere by Drucker and others) it offers a solid introduction to the benefits of a data-driven approach to a general audience.

OpenMethods Spotlights #3 Keeping a smart diary of research processes with NeMO and the Scholarly Ontology

OpenMethods Spotlights #3 Keeping a smart diary of research processes with NeMO and the Scholarly Ontology

In the next episode, we are looking behind the scenes of two ontologies: NeMO and the Scholarly Ontology (SO) with Panos Constantopoulos and Vayianos Pertsas who tell us the story behind these ontologies and explain how they can be used to ease or upcycle your daily works as a researcher. We discuss the value of knowledge graphs, how NeMO and SO connect with the emerging DH ontology landscape and beyond, why Open Access is a precondition of populating them, the Greek DH landscape …and many more!

La poética dramática desde una perspectiva cuantitativa: la obra de Calderón de la Barca

La poética dramática desde una perspectiva cuantitativa: la obra de Calderón de la Barca

Introduction: In this paper, Ehrlicher et al. follow a quantitative approach to unveil possible structural parallelisms between 13 comedies and 10 autos sacramentales written by Calderón de la Barca. Comedies are analyzed within a comparative framework, setting them against Spanish comedia nueva and French comedie precepts. Authors employ tool DramaAnalysis and statistics for their examination, focusing on: word frequency per subgenre, average number of characters, their variation and discourse distribution, etc. Autos sacramentales are also evaluated through these indicators. Regarding comedies, Ehrlicher et al.’s results show that Calderón: a) plays with units of space and time depending on creative and dramatic needs, b) does not follow French comedie conventions of character intervention or linkage, but c) does abide by its concept of structural symmetry. As for autos sacramentales, their findings brought forth that these have a similar length and character variation to comedies. However, they also identified the next difference: Calderón uses character co-presence in them to reinforce the message conveyed. Considering all this, authors confirm that Calderón’s comedies disassociate from classical notions of theatre – both Aristotelian and French –ideals. With respect to autos sacramentales, they believe further evaluation would be needed to verify ideas put forward and identify other structural patterns.

Undogmatic Literary Annotation with CATMA in: Annotations in Scholarly Editions and Research

Undogmatic Literary Annotation with CATMA in: Annotations in Scholarly Editions and Research

Introduction: Digital Literary Studies has long engaged with the challenges in representing ambiguity, contradiction and polyvocal readings of literary texts. This book chapter describes a web-based tool called CATMA which  promises a “low-threshold” approach to digitally encoded text interpretation. CATMA has a long trajectory based on a ‘standoff’ approach to markup, somewhat provocatively described by its creators as “undogmatic”, which stands in contrast to more established systems for text representation in digital scholarly editing and publishing such as XML markup, or the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). Standoff markup involves applying numbers to each character of a text and then using those numbers as identifiers to store interpretation externally. This approach allows for “multiple, over-lapping and even taxonomically contradictory annotations by one or more users” and avoids some of the rigidity which other approaches sometimes imply. An editor working with CATMA is able to create multiple independent annotation cycles, and to even specify which interpretation model was used for each. And the tool allows for an impressive array of analysis and visualization possibilities.

Recent iterations of CATMA have developed approaches which aim to bridge the gap between ‘close’ and ‘distant’ reading by providing scalable digital annotation and interpretation involving “semantic zooming” (which is compared to the kind of experience you get from an interactive map). The latest version also brings greater automation (currently in German only) to grammatical tense capture, temporal signals and part-of-speech annotation, which offer potentially significant effort savings and a wider range of markup review options. Greater attention is also paid to different kinds of interpretation activities through the three CATMA annotation modes of ‘highlight’, ‘comment’ and ‘annotate’, and to overall workflow considerations. The latest version of the tool offers finely grained access options mapping to common editorial roles and workflows.

I would have welcome greater reflection in the book chapter on sustainability – how an editor can port their work to other digital research environments, for use with other tools. While CATMA does allow for export to other systems (such as TEI), quite how effective this is (how well its interpretation structures bind to other digitally-mediated representation systems) is not clear.

What is most impressive about CATMA, and the work of its creator – the forTEXT research group – more generally, is how firmly embedded the thinking behind the tool is in humanities (and in particular literary) scholarship and theory. The group’s long-standing and deeply reflective engagement with the concerns of literary studies is well captured in this well-crafted and highly engaging book chapter.

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