Progress Report #1 Tasks

As indicated on the syllabus, your first Progress Report on our class project is due this Monday, March 17, by the end of class. The progress report should take the form of a correctly formatted, hyperlink-rich post to this blog. Each group needs to make only one post, but you should work together on the post and will be assigned a grade on the report as a group. Note that the report needs to show your progress, even if you haven’t yet completed all the tasks assigned to you. The groups/tasks we assigned last Monday are as follows, but keep in mind that groups and tasks will shift as we move forward.

Collect Information about MS and AR Ads

Since we are interested in comparing the language in Texas runaway ads with the language in other states’ ads, Kaitlyn and Daniel are going to look more closely at the ads from Mississippi and Arkansas that have already been digitized for the Documenting Runaway Slaves. They will collect information about:

  • How many ads there are in each of the files for those states
  • How many ads there are in particular newspapers
  • How many ads there are in the time period we are interested in (1835-1860)

As we saw today in class, using regular expressions to search may help answer those and other questions.

Explore Methods for Comparing Corpora Outside of Voyant

Aaron and Alyssa are going to look into other ways we might be able to compare two documents to gauge their similarity. Some of the text mining resources listed here may provide some good leads, though we don’t have to limit ourselves to a TF-IDF method.

Write an Introductory Historiographical Essay

Clare is going to draft an essay presenting the historiographical disagreements among scholars about the extent to which slavery in Texas was similar to or different from slavery in other parts of the South. This essay will help to frame the significance of our attempts to compare the language used in Texas runaway ads with the language in other states.

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