From Dickens to Data Science

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What if we could crop by all a literary works of an author and fast get ideas for similarities or differences in a underlying account structures? Researchers during Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand are coming this problem space by requesting novel information analytics and network science.

Data-driven investigate has emerged as a flourishing methodology, if not sub-discipline within literary studies. This approach, broadly described as “distant reading”, has harnessed permitted record to open new avenues for how we know literary texts, both away and in a aggregate. Whereas normal literary grant is generally grounded in a interpretation of a specific denunciation of a content or physique of texts, macroanalytic approaches have offering new ways of saying texts.

The interdisciplinary investigate plan during Victoria University of Wellington attempts to theorize a attribute between macroanalytic and microanalytic (distant and close) readings of particular works. The researchers request a Transcendental Information Cascades (TIC) proceed (Luczak-Roesch et al., 2015) to know how emergent structures of information are generated during a maturation of a text. This treats a content as a diachronically elaborating information complement and uses TIC to besiege a constructional properties of that system. The network so provides a cognisance of a occurrence of characters and models a information structures they generate.

The novels of Charles Dickens (1812-1870) are a quite engaging intent of review within this margin of research. Not usually was Dickens a executive figure in a growth of a nineteenth-century novel — a literary form that has been a primary intent of computational analyses — though his novels erect immeasurable and elaborate impression networks as they paint and a fast changing Victorian world.

Dickens’s impression networks are critical since of their firmness and of a formidable amicable universe they represent; a proceed in that those networks were generated also warrants attention. Dickens was a colonize of a sequence novel form, essay monthly (or weekly) installments of his novels over a march of adult to eighteen months. Thus, his novels not usually emanate impression networks in a routine of their unfolding, though also exaggerate a origination and government of those networks in a really act of composition. They offer a event to analyse both how a novel, taken as a finished cultured object, maps impression connectors and also how those networks are illusory and managed in their production.

Furthermore, a expansion of Dickens’s career provides another entrance for analysis, as his early novels benefaction episodic structure before he self-consciously announces an goal “to keep a steadier eye on a ubiquitous purpose and design” of his works. Thus, Dickens’s mode of production, a arc of his career, a estimable though docile corpus of fourteen finished novels, and a really piece of a universe he represents benefaction variables for analysing his impression networks by a computational approach.

The proceed has been tested on nineteen novels to this point; all fifteen novels by Charles Dickens, and 4 by other Victorian novelists for analogous purposes. An initial user investigate to weigh a apparatus was achieved involving humanities scholars and university students in English literature.

This investigate demonstrated that a ensuing networks simulate properties of a account structure of a analysed works, and make permitted quantitative facilities of novels that can exhibit areas for serve investigation. The user investigate also informs user interface (UI) as good as user knowledge (UX) designers about how domain experts in a digital humanities collaboratively correlate with collection that make use of network grant and information visualisations.

References for serve reading

  • Adam Grener, Markus Luczak-Roesch, Emma Fenton, Tom Goldfinch. (2017). Towards a Computational Literary Science: A Computational Approach to Dickens’ Dynamic Character Networks. Zenodo,
  • Luczak-Roesch M, Tinati R, O’Hara K. (2017) What an caught Web we weave: An information-centric proceed to socio-technical systems. PeerJ Preprints 5:e2789v1
  • Markus Luczak-Roesch, Ramine Tinati, Max Van Kleek, and Nigel Shadbolt. 2015. From Coincidence to Purposeful Flow? Properties of Transcendental Information Cascades. In Proceedings of a 2015 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining 2015 (ASONAM ’15), Jian Pei, Fabrizio Silvestri, and Jie Tang (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 633-638. DOI:
  • Markus Luczak-Roesch, Ramine Tinati, and Nigel Shadbolt. 2015. When Resources Collide: Towards a Theory of Coincidence in Information Spaces. In Proceedings of a 24th International Conference on World Wide Web (WWW ’15 Companion). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1137-1142. DOI:

Source: Towards a Computational Literary Science

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