Toward a computational history of universities: Evaluating text mining methods for interdisciplinarity detection from PhD dissertation abstracts

AbstractFor the first time, historians of higher education have large data sets of primary sources that reflect the complete output of academic institutions at their disposal. To analyze this unprecedented abundance of digital materials, scholars have access to a large suite of computational methods developed in the field of Natural Language Processing. However, when the intention is to move beyond exploratory studies and use the results of such analyses as quantitative evidences, historians need to take into account the reliability of these techniques.

Stylometric analysis of Early Modern period English plays

AbstractFunction word adjacency networks (WANs) are used to study the authorship of plays from the Early Modern English period. In these networks, nodes are function words and directed edges between two nodes represent the relative frequency of directed co-appearance of the two words. For every analyzed play, a WAN is constructed and these are aggregated to generate author profile networks. We first study the similarity of writing styles between Early English playwrights by comparing the profile WANs.

Spelling variation in historical text corpora: The case of early medieval documentary Latin

AbstractSpelling variation seems to go hand in hand with grammatical variation in certain historical texts. This article presents a method of quantifying spelling variation as a linguistic variable whose relation with relevant grammatical and contextual variables can be statistically measured.

Computer stylometry of C. S. Lewis’s The Dark Tower and related texts

AbstractThis article looks at the provenance of the unfinished novel The Dark Tower, generally attributed to C. S. Lewis. The manuscript was purportedly rescued from a bonfire shortly after Lewis’s death by his literary executor Walter Hooper, but the quality of the text is hardly vintage Lewis. Using computer stylometric programs made available by Eder et al.’s (2016: Stylometry with R: A package for computational text analysis.

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