Mining the Humanities

Yesterday’s MITH Ditigal Dialogues series brought Aditi Muralidharan to campus to give a talk titled “Large Scale Text Analysis in the Digital Humanities: Methods and Challenges.”  Aditi’s talk addressed, among a variety of issues, the challenges facing humanists and computer scientists who want to pursue types of research like textual analytics.  A substantive portion of the conversation after Aditi’s talk returned to the complexities of working across disciplines.  One thing seemed clear from the discussion: For a large-scale text mining project to work, there must be something mutually beneficial about it for all scholars involved.  In other words, it must push the computer scientist in ways that are recognized and deemed significant in his or her field as well as render for the humanist something that adds to our existing knowledge of the texts.  This seems to me to be one of the fundamental concepts of understanding what work is in the digital humanities.  It must be a win-win-win to work (humanist, computer scientist, granting agency).