20 enero 2017
20 enero 2017
How Can Digital Humanities Best Benefit from a Huge Digital Text Repository? Liga a beth pale
Professor of Informatics and Computing
Director, Data To Insight Center
Indiana University Bloomington
Digital humanities is an emerging discipline that applies computation to research in the humanities. More than simply conducting research with computers, digital humanities scholars use information technology as a central part of their methodology. Digital technologies have the power to transform humanities research, opening up new questions, answering existing questions more fully and systematically. Equally as broadening in terms of creating new research opportunities is the recent emergence of digital textual collections that are amenable to investigation using digital technologies. Not only can a digital humanities researcher now utilize digital technologies like topic modeling to glean information about an unknown set of texts, but with the introduction of huge digital repositories like HathiTrust, they can ask different kinds of questions too. For instance, Benjamin Ray, the director of the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive at the University of Virginia, wondered why witchcraft charges spread so rapidly and widely in 1692, affecting 156 people — 15 times more than in any other incident — across 25 communities in Essex County, Mass (NYTimes Jul 26, 2011).
The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) provides new opportunities for digital humanities research. HTRC is the research arm of HathiTrust, a consortium that stewards the digital library of content from research libraries around the country. With close to 11 million volumes in HathiTrust collection, HTRC aims to provide large-scale computational access and analytics to these text resources. The HTRC model of computing supports computational investigation at the location of the data. This is because much of the HathiTrust digital repository is copyrighted, and thus must be protected from unauthorized use. In this manner, the architecture is cloud-based, and computing takes place off a researcher’s laptop. A side benefit of this paradigm is that it frees scholars from worrying about managing large amounts of sensitive data.
In this talk, I will draw from experience we have had over the last three years with the HathiTrust Research Center. The talk will focus in three specific areas: first, the kinds of digital humanities research that we are seeing emerge with HTRC; second, the challenges facing the informatics researchers affiliated with the center who are working on new technologies and tools to broadly create new opportunities for computationally-based research investigation; and thirdly, the experience we have had with HathiTrust and HTRC in the classroom and plans for improvement.
Professor Plale is founding director of the Data To Insight Center, Managing Director of Pervasive Technology Institute, and Professor of Informatics and Computing, all at Indiana University. Plale co-directs the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), which is a joint project between Indiana University and University of Illinois. Plale is general chair for the premier provenance conference, IPAW 2014, and premier high performance distributed systems conference, ACM HPDC 2014.
Dr. Plale has broad research and governance interest in long term preservation and access to scientific and scholarly digital data, and computational access and analysis of large-scale data. Her specific research interests are in metadata and provenance; large-scale data repositories; cyberinfrastructure; data analysis; and workflow systems. Plale is deeply engaged in interdisciplinary research and education and has substantive experience in developing stable and useable scientific cyberinfrastructure.
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