Digital Humanities’ projects typically make use of specialized tools for text analysis, data mining, spatial analysis and data visualization. A few examples are listed below, while a fuller list can be found through the directories listed under Links and Tools.
Some of these tools may produce some stunning visualizations, but their use is not an end in itself. Ultimately, the aim of these tools is to provide new insights through systematic research.
Here is a small showcase of some interesting Digital Humanities projects:
Mapping the Republic of Letters
Six degrees of Francis Bacon
Novel views Les Miserables
Robots reading Vogue.
Text Analysis refers to the use of digital techniques to analyze textual information. This technique allows for “Distant Reading,” a term first introduced by Franco Moretti to describe the analysis of voluminous data sets and large corpuses using big data analytics. Text analysis tools can be used to search through a large corpus, generate word clouds, find word frequency, identify patterns in parts of speech or identify sentiments, moods, and emotions in a corpus.
Text analysis is a multi-step process that often involves cleaning, adding structure and increasing the regularity of raw text before putting it into analysis. Different tools can be used to perform this cleaning and parsing process before moving to the next stage and analyzing the text. Consider this example of a text analysis DH project:
The civil war in letters.
Useful Text Analysis Tools:
Data visualization is the use of visual mediums to convey and display information in an accessible and visually appealing method. Displaying data in a visual manner is very effective in grasping and condensing the main characteristics of any given data and provides users with an easy way to explore the information.
Data visualization can be static or interactive. Static data visualization relies on charts and graphs while interactive data visualization relies on innovative computer programs and new digital tools for network analysis, spatial analysis and connectivity.
An example of a data visualization DH project:
Useful Data Visualization Tools:
The use of the Geographic Information System (GIS) to analyze, manage and manipulate spatial or geographic data in a visually appealing manner adding layers upon layers of information in the form of interactive maps instead of static ones.
An example of a spatial analysis DH project:
The Agas Map of Early Modern London.
Tools used for Spatial Analysis:
Google fusion tables.