Do humanists need BERT?

Do humanists need BERT?

Introduction: Ted Underwood tests a new language representation model called “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers” (BERT) and asks if humanists should use it. Due to its high degree of difficulty and its limited success (e.g. in questions of genre detection) he concludes, that this approach will be important in the future but it’s nothing to deal with for humanists at the moment. An important caveat worth reading.

‘Voyant Tools’

‘Voyant Tools’

Introduction: Digital humanists looking for tools in order to visualize and analyze texts can rely on ‘Voyant Tools’ (https://voyant-tools.org), a software package created by S.Sinclair and G.Rockwell. Online resources are available in order to learn how to use Voyant. In this post, we highlight two of them: “Using Voyant-Tools to Formulate Research Questions for Textual Data” by Filipa Calado (GC Digital Fellows and the tutorial “Investigating texts with Voyant” by Miriam Posner.

Evaluating named entity recognition tools for extracting social networks from novels

Evaluating named entity recognition tools for extracting social networks from novels

Introduction: Named Entity Recognition (NER) is used to identify textual elements that gives things a name. In this study, four different NER tools are evaluated using a corpus of modern and classic fantasy or science fiction novels. Since NER tools have been created for the news domain, it is interesting to see how they perform in a totally different domain. The article comes with a very detailed methodological part and the accompanying dataset is also made available.

El archivo y la toma de notas. El lugar del software en la interpretación histórica

El archivo y la toma de notas. El lugar del software en la interpretación histórica

Introduction: In this article, Nicolás Quiroga reflects on the fundamental place of the note-taking practice in the work of historians. The artcile also reviews some tools for classifying information -which do not substantially affect the note-taking activity – and suggests how the use of these tools can create new digital approaches for historians.

The Uncanny Valley and the Ghost in the Machine

The Uncanny Valley and the Ghost in the Machine

Introduction: There is a postulated level of anthropomorphism where people feel uncanny about the appearance of a robot. But what happens if digital facsimiles and online editions become nigh indistinguishable from the real, yet materially remaining so vastly different? How do we ethically provide access to the digital object without creating a blindspot and neglect for the real thing. A question that keeps digital librarian Dot Porter awake and which she ponders in this thoughtful contribution.

Modernes Tool für alte Texte

Modernes Tool für alte Texte

Introduction: Computer scientists and humanists at the University of Würzburg have jointly developed a new and promising OCR tool to simplify text recognition in historical prints. “OCR4all” is freely available and works very reliably. The article describes its development and functions and leads to a well documented github repository to test the tool for yourself.

Little package, big dependency

Little package, big dependency

Introduction: The world of R consists of innumerous packages. Most of them have very little download rates because they are limited to certain functions as part of a larger argument. Based on a surprising experience with the small package clipr Matthew Lincoln shares his thoughts about this reception phenomenon especially in the digital humanities.

The Research Software Directory and how it promotes software citation

The Research Software Directory and how it promotes software citation

Introduction: The Research Software Directory of the Netherlands eScience Institute provides easy access to software, source code and its documentation. More importantly, it makes it easy to cite software, which is highly advisable when using software to derive research results. The Research Software Directory positions itself as a platform that eases scientific referencing and reproducibility of software based research—good peer praxis that is still underdeveloped in the humanities.