Document Engineering and Digital Humanities

Documents of all types have always played a central role in the humanities, both of an object of inquiry and for documenting research results. The digital humanities are thus also concerned with documents and with digital documents in particular. Apart from “traditional” scholarly questions, this raises many new questions, for example, on encoding, markup, and processing of texts, where technical and scholarly aspects interact.

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A Live Publication List For My Web Site

The main problem with Twitter is that everything you post there is publicly visible. Oh, wait—are you saying that’s intentional? Well, then. Anne Baillot recently mentioned on Twitter she’s numbering her publication list by hand. With Word.

This is, of course, wrong, and at some point I may actually blog about better ways. However, her post also reminded me that I’m not quite perfect myself, as don’t have a list of publications on my Web site—only a link to my list of publications on CiteULike. In principle, that would do the job, but it’s not quite optimal, because it requires readers to follow a link to get at the information. It would be much nicer to have the list of publications right on my own Web site—but of course without requiring any additional work to keep it current.

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Writing for Hypotheses in Org-mode

A fact that should perhaps be emphasized when promulgating academic blogging is: it’s not for everyone. If you can regularly write a sparkling essay in half an hour, say, during your commute or your lunch break, and you enjoy doing it—then it’s definitely for you. If, on the other hand, the only thing that’s regular about your writing is writer’s block, then you should feel free to either blog for therapeutic reasons—or to leave it. Well, and then there are some people who don’t have a choice because they somehow managed to win an award that contractually requires them to blog.

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Another Enthusiastic Review of Natural Language Processing for Historical Texts

I’d like to (belatedly) point you to another review of my book Natural Language Processing for Historical Texts. The review by Laurent Romary appeared in Computational Linguistics 40:1, 231–232, and I was very happy to find that Laurent considers the book a “compendium of information that […] has been heavily awaited by many scholars having to deal with corpora of historical texts” and that it “conveys a wealth of information on the various aspects where recent developments in language technology may help digital humanities projects to be aware of the current state of the art in the field.”

I think you could call this a recommendation, so go get the book now!

A Small Exercise in Computer Archeology

My first computer was an Atari 1040STF, which I used until about 1995, when I replaced it with an HP 715/50 workstation. I put the Atari away in the attic, where it remained for the last 18 years.

While staying with my parents over Christmas, I decided to finally get it out and determine whether it would still work (and thus whether to keep it or dispose of it), and to try and get the data off its hard disk. There wasn’t anything terribly important on the hard disk—otherwise I would have done this earlier—, so there wasn’t really anything at stakes, but I thought it might be an interesting exercise in computer archeology.

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A Review of Natural Language Processing for Historical Texts

LINGUIST List issue 25.292 features a review of my book Natural Language Processing for Historical Texts by Bev Thurber. I was very happy to read that she thinks that the book is “a good overview of recent progress and problems in applying techniques from NLP to historical texts” and that it “provides a valuable introduction to the field for humanists who want an overview of how NLP techniques have been used with historical texts and what promise NLP holds for the future.”

Read the full review on LINGUIST List.