Up Next: Natalie Houston and Neal Audenaert

Don’t forget that we will be having our first meeting of the semester this Friday at 5:30 in Keck Hall, Room 101 (the building with Valhalla). Dinner will be provided for everyone at the beginning.

Our guests for the workshop this Friday afternoon are Natalie Houston and Neal Audenaert. They have received a start-up grant from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities to build a program they are calling The Visual Page.

As their project description explains, most of the work that has been done by digital humanists has focused on how to analyze large amounts of digitized text. But their program will eventually allow users to interact with and analyze the graphical elements of digitized texts: things like white space and page organization. The immediate goal, for Professor Houston, is to be able to analyze elements of Victorian poetry on the page—like margins and indentation. But to me this software is also exciting for the potential it holds for historians and humanists in general, who often want to know not just about the textual content of a digitized source but also about its graphical content and in-page context.

Another “digital humanist” who has been thinking about this problem, and who will be joining us for our March 7 video chat, is Cameron Blevins. Blevins is a graduate student at Stanford who coded a program called ImageGrid to computationally recognize the placement of newspaper articles on a digitized page. And guess what he used? Python!

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