Text networks, part three: Dependency networks

This post is part of a series of posts about text network analysis. Each post will discuss one approach to algorithmically creating networks from texts. See the primer for an introduction and the list of posts.

In the previous post, we introduced the basics of text-network analysis using the example of co-occurrence networks. Any application of text-network analysis evolves around two questions: 1. What are my nodes? and 2. what are the relations (edges) between nodes? The answer to the first question is to a large extend the same with different text-network creation methods. The main differences concern the way of identifying edges. Therefore, this post will focus on the second question and only highlight relevant differences in the selection of nodes.

Co-occurrence networks construct edges between nodes based on their proximity in the text. This is a quite rough criterion and error prone: Words close to each other will not always have a meaningful relation to each other, so one gets more edges than desired (false positives). On the other hand, some syntactic arrangements like subordinate clauses can have the effect that related words appear relatively far from each other, and the methods misses relevant edges (false negatives). A better approach thus might take the syntactic structure of the text into account.


Genre Trouble – About the problem of using modern day literary terms on Egyptian texts

Part of working with textual data is the classification of the text in question in some way or another. Now, there are many different ways of classifying a text: epoch, school of thought or authorship are only a few examples. This article will deal with genres or rather with the questions and problems concerning them. Every day we let our reading be guided by genre classifications: We open up a book with a cover saying “Thriller” and automatically expect a more or less suspense-packed plot. Or if it says “Novel”, we hope to read a rather sweet and romantic story. But can these classifications really be trusted? (For example: An English speaking reader would expect a “novel” to be rather long. A German speaking reader on the other hand might expect a “novel” to be rather short, because the term resembles the German term “Novelle”, even though “Roman” would be the actual translation.) And what do they help us regarding ancient Egyptian texts?


HNR Workshop 2015 in Bochum – a review

Several visualisations from the HNR Workshop 2015

Several visualisations from the HNR Workshop 2015

“To mine and to tie – Text mining and network analysis for historians”

This was the title of the 9th Historical Network Research Workshop, which took place at Ruhr-University Bochum, organized by the SeNeReKo team. More than 40 participants to the Ruhr Area to take part in programming introductions and other workshops, to listen to speeches by their colleagues from different research fields, having a network speed dating, and discussing lively, but in relaxed atmosphere the past, present and future of network research and Digital Humanities.


Text networks, part two: Co-occurrence networks

This post is part of a series of posts about text network analysis. Each post will discuss one approach to algorithmically creating networks from texts. See the primer for an introduction and the list of posts.

Recalling the networks 101, a network in its formal representation consists of nodes, i.e. the basic elements of my data, and edges, i.e. relations between the nodes. When creating a network from a text, one has to answer two basic questions:

  1. What are my nodes?
  2. What constitutes a relation between two nodes?


Text networks, part one: Primer

This post is part of a series of posts about text network analysis. Each post will discuss one approach to algorithmically creating networks from texts.
Historical network analysis—or, more generally, network analysis in the digital humanities—is in most cases an application of Social Network Analysis in the fields of history or literary studies. It shares with sociological approaches its focus on social actors, or: people. In contrast to sociology, DH applications mostly focus on dead (history) or fictional (literary studies) people.

Gods, Graves and Graphs – About the Project (in English)

Not all of our readers know our homepage at the CERES institute at Ruhr University Bochum – which is available in English in large parts – and not all know the German language. Therefore, we give you a short introduction in English to what the SeNeReKo Project is about. (The German version was our first post on this blog.)

SeNeReKo is a joint research project of the Center for Religious Studies (CERES) at Ruhr University Bochum and the Trier Center for Digital Humanities (TCDH). Through collaboration of humanities, social sciences and computer science, new methods for analyzing historical religious resources will be developed. This “digital humanities” project builds on previous efforts of digitization and encoding of historical corpora. The project aims to enable the utilization of digital resources and new methodological approaches currently available for use in religious studies. Weiterlesen

WhoForShe? Or: tinkering with Open Data

This post is not really related to the SeNeReKo project. But using an unrelated example, it shows the benefits of Open Data: Re-combining existing information to create new insights. This is really what SeNeReKo is about.

Last week, the UN Women launched the campaign “HeForShe” with Emma Watson’s speech at the UN Headquaters. The campaign aims at including men into a “solidarity movement for gender equality”. In order to make this support visible, the campaign website allows men to commit to the campaign’s idea by submitting a web form. Based on the submitted data, the website displays a map of the world, showing (on click) the number of signers.

Map of HeForShe signers Weiterlesen

Egyptology and digital humanities – does it fit together or do we open Pandora’s box?

Most people have a romantic and movie inspired view of an Egyptologist: he is masculine, between 40 and 60 years old, good looking and wears his best corduroy suit. Just like Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies. When I worked for an exhibition of the pharaoh Tutankhamen, where I guided the visitors and answered all the questions they had about that “old guy”, some people complained about me to the exhibition manager. In their minds, I didn’t look like a typical Egyptologist (I am feminine, 29 years old, and wouldn’t dream of wearing a corduroy suit). Sadly, this is a true story.

People also have a more or less romantic view about our working conditions: if we are not digging somewhere in the sand, brushing artifacts tenderly or holding old-fashioned lectures (of course with antiquated overhead transparencies), we are sitting behind a huge wall of dusty books and haven’t seen the sun in months (ok, maybe this is true).

Only a very few would expect that the day of an Egyptologist is mainly characterized by working with computers and any kind of software. We use the Internet to announce call for papers, interesting news, and the latest publications – on homepages, twitter, or our own scientific blogs.

The work of an Egyptologist – how digital are we?

I think Egyptologists themselves don’t know how many digital resources they are already working with every day. The times when they were spending hours skimming through every single book in the library are long gone. Today, they can use the “Online Egyptological Bibliography”, for instance. Weiterlesen

How to implement multi-transliteration efficiently

It is nothing new that we process Pali data in our project SeNeReKo. As Pali has no own writing system these texts originally have been written in devanagari, singhalese and burmese script. Nowadays we use a latin based script with diacritica, the so called Rhys-Davids transliteration. (See Wikipedia for details.) But we nowadays use other transliterations as well: Especially the Harvard Kyoto Convention is common to avoid diacritica and therefore simplifies the writing of Pali words to some extent.

The problem: Multiple Transliterations

Regarding these writing system an interesting problem arose in our project lately. As we build technical systems to process Pali words we wanted to support more than one transliteration of Pali. As it is unreasonable to store all data in various transliterations in parallel in our database, we developed a converter system that is is capable of transliterating data on the fly as needed. Weiterlesen

How Else to Create Lemmatized Text for Topic Modeling

Here it is at last, the first post in the new blog for the SeNeReKo project. On this blog, we will write about aspects of our work, ongoing experiments and lessons learned. Our work heavily builds on the work of others, and we hope it will be of use beyond our project as well. That is why I want to open this blog with a response to another blog post.

Crowds gather to watch cranes joining two ends of an oil pipeline before the official ceremony commemorating the joining of the pipeline of an oil tanker terminal, Portland, Maine, with refineries in Montreal, Quebec.

In his post How to Create Lemmatized (French) Text for Topic Modeling, Christof described how to make use of the TreeTagger output when preparing texts for Topic Modeling. As a by-product of our own work in SeNeReKo, we aimed for a more generic and hopefully simpler approach to deal with annotations of this kind. We chose WebLicht as a starting point, because it allows to easily build annotation toolchains using independent components. Besides others, it supports TreeTagger for lemmatizing French, so generally WebLicht would be a good match for Christof’s task.


Gods, Graves and Graphs

Das Projekt SeNeReKo ist ein gemeinsames Forschungsvorhaben des Centrums für Religionswissenschaftliche Studien (CERES) an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum und des Trier Center for Digital Humanities (TCDH). In der Zusammenarbeit von Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften einerseits und Informatik andererseits sollen neue Verfahren der Analyse religionshistorischen Quellenmaterials entwickelt werden. Das Projekt steht damit im Kontext der „Digital Humanities“ und baut auf bisherigen Vorhaben zur Digitalisierung und Erschließung historischer Korpora auf. Ziel ist es, die vorhandenen digitalen Materialien nun für Fragestellungen der Religionswissenschaft fruchtbar zu machen und in diesem Zuge auch neue methodische Verfahren zu entwickeln. Inhaltlich geht das Projekt von Fragen des Religionskontakts aus: Aufbauend auf dem Konzept der „Relational Religion“ und auf Arbeiten des Bochumer KHK zur historischen Entwicklung religiöser Kontaktzonen und zu Prozessen des Religionskontakts sollen der Transfer religiöser Ideen ebenso rekonstruiert werden wie religiöse Konfliktlinien. Weiterlesen