My interest in exploring digital history was, in fact, prompted by listening to various digital scholars talk about what might be gained from “distant” reading. What patterns or connections might be turned up through data mining that I would not (or could) not see simply by reading the articles myself. Over the time that I have been reading about women’s departments–particularly in promotional literature for banks–I have formed some impressions. Would those working premises be born out if I were to look at materials more systematically. For instance, it has seemed to me that commercial banks, esp. in the 1920s, presenting themselves as modern, usually had three features: 1. an impressive vault; 2. an effective ventilation system; and 3. a woman’s department. While I can imagine coding to determine if that impression is accurate, I am also wondering what other elements might I have missed. And, of course, if I can confirm these elements (or determine others), the question remains–what connection might there be among them?
To be continued.