Distant Reading

Today we learned about distant reading.  Well, we’d learned about it before – but today we learned a lot more.  I’ve been thinking about how I use this potentially powerful tool.  In the project I proposed – to follow the movements of Delta sharecroppers – I’m not sure how to employ this technique.  That’s not to say that tomorrow won’t bring some new insight.

But I can see this as useful in some of my other research.  One of the projects mentioned last week was about using deep reading/data mining to examine when “World War I” replaced “the Great War” in newspaper writing.  I write about milk, and I am interested in the ways people have defined and regulated dairy products.  It might be useful to look at things like “certified milk” and “pasteurized milk” and, for that matter, “grade A milk” to see when those phrases entered our lexicon.  Just a thought.  This all really hasn’t had time to settle in yet, and I’m a person who needs to cogitate.


Update – decided I was here to work with this stuff, so I did.  Here’s one thing I found:

I knew about the growth of both certified and pasteurized milk circa 1900.  I didn’t realize that (writing about) certified milk dropped off that sharply that much sooner.  Hmm…

Source: Distant Reading

Thoughts on making/using video for class

I’ll admit it – the longer I teach the more I like using videos – and it’s not about being lazy.  It’s the fact that videos can do things that are either difficult or impossible to do in class.  The only problem is finding something suitable – either what I find is too long, too short, or I can’t find what I want at all.  Given the tools we learned today, that’s no longer an excuse.  I can, pretty easily, make what I want – apparently with a minimum of fuss and effort.  Or lots of fuss and effort…

Thoughts on making/using video for class | My blog.