In Praise of the Unpredictable: Exploratory Research Methods for Digital Collections”
Assistant Director of the Women Writers Project & NULab Northeastern University
Thursday, February 28, 2019
5:15PM – 7PM
MIT Building 14E-304
Using the Women Writers Project as an exemplar, this paper will discuss methods for conducting exploratory research with digital collections and, in particular, for identifying research possibilities that may not have been anticipated by a collection’s original developers. The talk will examine several methods of digital scholarship—including text encoding, data visualization, text analysis at scale, and XML-based transformations—and consider best practices for accessing the rich layers of information available in many digital collections. The paper will conclude with some thoughts on how developers and curators can build collections that will support a broad range of use cases.
Sarah Connell is the Assistant Director of the Women Writers Project and the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on text encoding and text analysis, medieval and early modern literature and historiography, and pedagogies of digital scholarship. Her current projects include Making Room in History, a text encoding and analysis project on early modern narratives of national identity; a collaboration with Diana Henderson to develop an online course on the Merchant of Venice for the MITx platform; and an NEH-funded seminar series on research and teaching with word embedding models.