Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Last active May 23, 2016 11:21
Show Gist options
  • Save drjwbaker/552352096d7cbb95c2fb4df6d6f86335 to your computer and use it in GitHub Desktop.
Save drjwbaker/552352096d7cbb95c2fb4df6d6f86335 to your computer and use it in GitHub Desktop.

Melodee Beals, 'A Series of Small Things: The Case Study in the Age of Big Data', This&THATCamp Sussex Humanities Lab, 19 May 2016

Live notes, so an incomplete, partial record of what actually happened.

Tags: thisthat

My asides in {}



#thisthat @mhbeals asks can the intuitive 'it depends' of history survive the age of big data?

— Stephen H. Gregg (@gregg_sh) May 19, 2016
<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

A problem: we know C19 newspapers reprinted things from other newspapers, but to catalogue that would have entailed an insane amount of effort. Wouldn't have been possible ten years ago.

@mhbeals - can (the answer) “it depends” survive move from analogue sources to harsh binaries of digital? #thisthat

— Oliver Duke-Williams (@oliver_dw) May 19, 2016
<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Large Scale..

Using plagiarism software to find historical reprinting.

Lots of ifs and buts. Not least what has been digitised. Network graphs show that there was more shared content in C19 newspapers during the Napoleonic Wars than after it..

The Medium Scale..

In English language 'middle ground' has a bad reputation: no command of real detail, no command of the big picture.

Network is useful. But it doesn't tell us how the network works? Directions. Arrows rather than bold lines. Using case studies to understand how to modify the data.

The Small Scale..

Huzzah for the case study! & for applying digital methods to them: it might do historical research a world of good, says @mhbeals #ThisThat

— Jo Taylor (@JoTayl0r0) May 19, 2016
<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Is the case study the derided siren. We obsess with stuff but he feel honour bound to connect those with the big picture. But we should like them, no? Is the small scale best left to the nuance of historian's brains?

Articles about cannibales attacking a british ship.. {creative reuse of a service to get a sense of a short text}

Using techniques from dendrochronology (phylogenetic trees) to get a sense of the 'evolution' of different sets of texts (that is, newspapers).

The Story..

Flitting (consciously..) butterfly like from method to method. Which leaves various methods behind, less exploited than they might be.

Scissors and Paste -- -- sharing the research process.


DH thinking really is about explaining your assumptions and methods so someone else can think through your interpretation.

If we have close reading and distant reading, what is medium reading? What does computational medium reading model to in the physical world?

Some admin...

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Exceptions: embeds to and from external sources, and direct quotations from speakers

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment