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Indiana University Bloomington

scene from Newton project

Colloquia Spring 2015

What Digital Humanities can learn from corpus linguistics:
Annotation as interpretation

Heike Zinsmeister
University of Hamburg

Annotation is a basic hermeneutical method in text-based humanities and beyond, which comes in very different shapes ranging from free-style comments to automatic annotation with standardized tagsets. While it is well established in corpus linguistics to use closed tagsets and to publish the annotated corpus together with its tagging guidelines for reuse by the research community, this is not the case in many other disciplines in Digital Humanities. In this talk, I argue in favor of establishing a general culture of creating reusable, annotated resources in a sustainable way. This includes small-scale studies of manual annotation, as well as the support of digging into big data by means of automatic annotation. A core feature in this endeavor is the Annotation Cycle that supports the process of deriving objective categories from subjective interpretation, which has its origins in machine learning approaches of computational linguistics.

Heike Zinsmeister is a professor for German linguistics and corpus linguistics at the University of Hamburg, Germany. After studying linguistics and philosophy in Stuttgart, Germany, she had worked in computational linguistics research projects for many years with a focus on linguistic annotation and its use. She is currently collaborating with DH researchers from literature and cultural anthropology exploring the merits of annotation.

Monday, March 23, 2015
Hazelbaker Hall, Wells Library Scholars' Commons, Room E159, 4pm
Sponsored by the Catapult Center for Digital Humanities & Computational Analysis of Texts

Growing Like “Top Seed”: Editing the Cultural Afterlives of Texts

Amanda Gailey
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Digital archives and editions are some of the oldest and most useful digital humanities projects. The methods for creating these projects have been very successful, but they have also become “locked in”—that is, they have become so standard that it has become difficult to imagine alternatives, even alternatives that may speak directly to critical interests in texts. This talk will speculate about alternative digital presentations of literature by considering a case study, a New Historicist interest in the character Topsy from Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Amanda Gailey is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, where she teaches classes on digital humanities and American literature. She edits The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk, a digital collection of materials relating to the depiction of race in American children's literature, and she co-edits Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing, which publishes peer-reviewed digital editions of interesting literary and historical texts. Her book, Proofs of Genius: Collected Editions from the American Revolution to the Digital Age, will be released by the University of Michigan Press in October, 2015.

Monday, April 13, 2015
Hazelbaker Hall, Wells Library Scholars' Commons, Room E159, 4pm
Sponsored by the Catapult Center for Digital Humanities & Computational Analysis of Texts

Frankenstein's Skeleton

Wendell Piez
Piez Consulting Services

In 1816 Mary Shelley wrote a book that has become more than a classic, inscribing not only a text, but a troubling idea, indelibly into world consciousness.

Now we have computationally tractable forms of text, it is possible to examine this novel directly, not only searching and formatting it, but also subjecting it to more peculiar interrogations: laying out the body on the table and seeing what it is made of and how put together.

A great number and variety of interesting questions come up when we do this, relating not only to this text but to the modeling, description and representation of literary texts in general, and how current text encoding technologies serve to do this (or can be made to do so better). How is a dead text brought to life? What makes a text alive or dead in the first place?

It may be that (among other things) a living text shows an organic whole, an integrity of purpose in its various dimensions, layers and component parts. This is certainly the case with Shelley's Frankenstein, which proves under close examination to have a structure that is not fully understood or appreciated, even by many editors and publishers.

The audience is invited to bring printed or electronic copies of Mary Shelley's novel, in any edition. Our first question will be: where is the end of Chapter 24?

Wendell Piez is an independent consultant specializing in electronic publishing technologies, including XML and XSLT, whose PhD in English (Rutgers 1991) focused on Romantic and Victorian literature. His ongoing projects include LMNL (the Layered Markup and Annotation Language), a form of markup (not XML!) that is useful for representing overlapping phenomena in text. Wendell is also the General Editor for Digital Humanities Quarterly, published by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

Monday, April 27, 2015
Social Science Research Commons, Woodburn Hall, 4pm
Sponsored by the Catapult Center for Digital Humanities & Computational Analysis of Texts

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