• Understanding Genre in a Collection of a Million Volumes

    Project Director(s):
    William Underwood
    Author(s):
    William Underwood
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    Data Rescue
    Subject(s):
    Literature
    Item Type:
    White paper
    Institution:
    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Tag(s):
    NEH White papers, Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, NEH Digital Humanities
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6W07V
    Abstract:
    Large digital collections offer new avenues of exploration for literary scholars. But their potential has not yet been fully realized, because we don’t have the metadata we would need to make literary arguments at scale. Subject classifications don’t reveal, for instance, whether a given volume is poetry, drama, fiction, or criticism. Working with a hand-classified collection of 4,275 English-language works, we have discovered new perspectives on the history of genre. But to flesh out those leads (and permit others to undertake similar projects) we need to move to a scale where manual classification would be impractical. We propose to develop software that can classify volumes by genre while allowing definitions of genre to change over time, and allowing works to belong to multiple genres. We will classify a million-volume collection (1800- 1949), make our data, metadata, and software freely available through HathiTrust Research Center, and publish substantive literary findings.
    Notes:
    The continuing development of software that would allow users to classify digitized literary works by genre, including allowing for the changing definitions of genre over time.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial
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