A Text Mining Week at Texas A&M (1)

Blogging live from the extremely sunny campus of Texas A&M, College Station, Texas. Quite a contrast from snowy Edmonton.

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I have been fortunate enough to be invited to spend a week at Texas A&M (TAMU) to visit some of the scholars with whom I collaborate on the Novel TM project. Project co-investigator Doctor Laura Mandell and PhD student Nigel Lepianka were nice enough to show me around the campus (unable to drive, I find myself relying on Nigel most of the time).

So far, I presented some of my work on text mining JRPG video game reviews and was introduced to other text mining techniques using R (specifically, Nigel’s method to do some directed topic modelling). I was also introduced to some of the projects that the team here is working on as part of their Initiative for Digital Humanities, Medias and Culture.

The first one is syriaca.org, an extensive web portal that brings ressources for the study of the Syriac language to the wide web. While some of its contents remain to be published, the Gazetteer showcases how the platform can contribute as a geographical reference index.

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I also was introduced to the BigDIVA viewer today. This is a promising interface that could revolutionize library search results display for universities. I am particularly interested in its potential to help rethinking queries with space in mind, a way to present queries in a less hierarchical manner which would allow the uncovering of marginal files and documents. This is radically different that the regular Google search algorithms which relies more on result popularity amongst millions of users (a form of crowdsourcing) who may be looking for the same specific website. An interesting tool, and one that triggers reflections about what it means to read (and play) space.

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