Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 11: Big Data

  • What is topic modeling? How do they do it?
  • What is network analysis? How do they do it?
  • Can you tell how much “live writing” they actually did for this project? How does their writing in public approach compare to Moravec’s?
  • What is github?
  • Are you persuaded by their proposal that shifts in training and standards are needed for historical education?
  • What kinds of historical questions can you ask with Big Data that you can’t with more traditional textual analysis methods?
  • At what stage in the research process would you imagine visualizing your primary sources with a tool like Voyant?
  • What do you think of this definition of Big Data?: “For us, big data is simply more data that you could conceivably read yourself in a reasonable amount of time – or, even more inclusively – information that requires computational intervention to make new sense of it.”
  • Does this book motivate you to learn to code?
  • Assuming you had a research problem that you needed a tool for…how would you find out what tools are available and which ones you might need to code yourself?
  • What concerns of copyright underpinned Google’s digitization of the five big libraries?
  • What kinds of historical questions do you think you can ask with Big Data?
  • What did they do with the Dictionary of Canadian Biography?
  • What do they mean by “distant reading”? (PhD Comics example:
  • Differences among “information visualization,” “scientific visualization,” and “infographic”
  • Let’s compare the 3 kinds of written in public approaches that we have looked at so far this semester. What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Cohen and Rosenzweig, chapter 6, Collecting History Online
  • How are the challenges of digital archiving different now than they were when Cohen and Rosenzweig wrote this chapter a decade ago?
  • How do you know that you have a target project audience that is just the right size—not too narrow and not too broad?
  • How do you feel the blog is working for our class?
  • Do any of you run personal blogs? Why? Are they thematic in any way?
  • What lessons do you take from the story of the Sept. 11 Digital Archive?



  1. Wondered what your class made of the Macroscope!

  2. I think we learned exactly enough to know it was much harder than any of us were ready to do in the near future, but we could appreciate others' results much better!