Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category


Saturday, April 12th, 2014

cyoa is a great essay/visualization/animation about Choose Your Own Adventure books. There are visualizations of the choices and some great animations of the flow of choices.

The whole essay/site is beautifully designed (and it has a colophon.) It is gesture of love towards Choose Your Own Adventures.

WPA: Uses and Limitations of Automated Writing Evaluation

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The Council of Writing Program Administrators has made available a very useful Research Bibliography on the Uses and Limitations of Automated Writing Evaluation Software (PDF). This is part of a set of WPA-ComPile Research Bibliographies. There are paragraph long summaries of the articles that are quite useful.

What seems to be missing is an ethical discussion of automated evaluation. Do we need to tell people if we use automated evaluation? Writing for someone feels like a very personal act (even in a large class). What are the expectations of writers that their writing would be read?

Pentametron: With algorithms subtle and discrete

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Scott send me a link to the Pentametron: With algorithms subtle and discrete / I seek iambic writings to retweet. This site creates iambic pentameter poems from tweets by looking at the rythm of words. It then tries to find ryhming last words to create a AABB rhyming scheme. You can see an article about it on Gawker titled, Weird Internets: The Amazing Found-on-Twitter Sonnets of Pentametron.

Rowling and “Galbraith”: an authorial analysis

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

JK Rowling has been recently uncovered at the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling which was submitted under the name Robert Galbraith. The Sunday Times revealed this after a hint on Twitter and some forensic stylometry. Patrick Juola, one of the two people to do the analysis has a guest blog where he talks about what he did at: Rowling and “Galbraith”: an authorial analysis. Great short description of an authorship attribution project.

Social Digital Scholarly Editing

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

On July 11th and 12th I was at a conference in Saskatoon on Social Digital Scholarly Editing. This conference was organized by Peter Robinson and colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan. I kept conference notes here.

I gave a paper on “Social Texts and Social Tools.” My paper argued for text analysis tools as a “reader” of editions. I took the extreme case of big data text mining and what scraping/mining tools want in a text and don’t want in a text. I took this extreme view to challenge the scholarly editing view that the more interpretation you put into an edition the better. Big data wants to automate the process of gathering and mining texts – big data wants “clean” texts that don’t have markup, annotations, metadata and other interventions that can’t be easily removed. The variety of markup in digital humanities projects makes it very hard to clean them.

The response was appreciative of the provocation, but (thankfully) not convinced that big data was the audience of scholarly editors.

The National Digital Public Library Is Launched! by Robert Darnton

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Robert Darnton has written an essay about the launch of the Digital Public Library of America that everyone should read. A great writer and a historian he provides a historical context and a contemporary context. He quotes from the original mission statement to show the ambition,

“an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in the current and future generations.”

The essay, The National Digital Public Library Is Launched! by Robert Darnton is in the New York Review of Books. A lot of it talks about what Harvard is contributing (Darnton is the University Librarian there), which is OK as it is good to see leadership.

He also mentions that Daniel Cohen is the new executive director. Bravo! Great choice!

Juxta Commons

Thursday, December 6th, 2012


From Humanist I just learned about Juxta Commons. This is a web version of the earlier downloadable Java tool. The new version still has the lovely interface that shows the differences between variants. The commons however, builds on the personal computer tool by being a place where collations can be kept. Others can find and explore your collations. You can search the commons and find collation projects.

Another interesting feature is that they have Google ads if you search the commons. The search is “powered by Google” so perhaps that comes with the service.

Dissertation for Sale: A Cautionary Tale

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The other day while browsing around looking for books to read on my iPad I noticed what looked like a dissertation for sale. I’ve been wondering how dissertations could get into e-book stores when I remembered the license that graduate students are being asked to sign these days by Theses Canada. The system here encourages students to give a license to Library and Archives Canada that includes the right,

(a) to reproduce, publish, archive, preserve, conserve, communicate to the public by telecommunication or on the Internet, loan, distribute and sell my thesis (the title of which is set forth above) worldwide, for commercial or non-commercial purposes, in microform, paper, electronic and/or any other formats;

I now just came across this cautionary story in the Chronicle for Higher Education about Dissertation for Sale: A Cautionary Tale. It seems it is also allowed in the US.

War and Peace gets Nookd

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

From Slashdot I found this blog entry Ocracoke Island Journal: Nookd about how a Nook version of War and Peace had the word “kindle” replaced by “nook” as in “It was as if a light has been Nooked (kindled) in a carved and painted lantern…” It seems that the company that ported the Kindle version over to the Nook ran a search and replace on the word Kindle and replaced it with Nook.

I think this should be turned into a game. We should create an e-reader that plays with the text in various ways. We could adapt some of Steve Ramsay’s algorithmic ideas (reversing lines of poetry). Readers could score points by clicking on the words they think were replaced and guessing the correct one.

A walk through The Waste Land

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Daniel sent the link to this YouTube video, A walk through The Waste Land, that shows an iPad edition of The Waste Land developed by Touch Press. The version has the text, audio readings by various people, a video of a performance, the manuscripts, notes and photos. I was struck by how this extends to the iPad the experiments of the late 1980s and 1990s that exploded with the availability of HyperCard, Macromedia Director and CD-ROM. The most active publisher was Voyager that remediated books and documentaries to create interactive works like Poetry in Motion (Vimeo demo of CD) or the expanded book series, but all sorts of educational materials were also being created that never got published. As a parent I was especially aware of the availability of titles as I was buying them for my kids (who, frankly, ignored them.) Dr. Seuss ABC was one of the more effective remediations. Kids (and parents) could click on anything on the screen and entertaining animations would reinforce the alphabet.