DPLA Beta Sprint Submission

I decided to give it a whirl and particpate in the DPLA Beta Sprint, and below is my submission:

DPLA Beta Sprint Submission

My DPLA Beta Sprint submission will describe and demonstrate how the digitized versions of library collections can be made more useful through the application of text mining and various other digital humanities computing techniques.

Full text content abounds, and full text indexing techniques have matured. While the problem of discovery will never be completely solved, it is much less acute than it was even a decade ago. Whether the library profession or academia believes it or not, most people do not feel as if they have a problem finding data, information, and knowledge. To them it is as easy as entering a few words or phrases into a search box and clicking Go.

It is now time to move beyond the problem of find and spend increased efforts trying to solve the problem of use. What does one do with all the information they find and acquire? How can it be put into the context of the reader? What actions can the reader apply against the content they find? How can it be compared & contrasted? What makes one piece of information — such as a book, an article, a chapter, or even a paragraph — more significant than another? How might the information at hand be used to solve problems or create new insights?

There is no single answer to these questions, but this submission will describe and demonstrate one set of possibilities. It will assume the existence of full text content of just about any type — such as books the Internet Archive, open access journals, or blog postings. It will outline how these texts can be analyzed to find patterns, extract themes, and identify anomalies. It will describe how entire corpora or search results can be post-processed to not only refine the discovery process but also make sense of the results and enable the reader to quickly grasp the essence of textual documents. Since actions speak louder than words, this submission will also present a number of loosely joined applications demonstrating how this analysis can be implemented through Web browsers and/or portable computing devices such as tablet computers.

By exploiting the current environment — full text content coupled with ubiquitous computing horsepower — the DPLA can demonstrate to the wider community how libraries can remain relevant in the current century. This submission will describe and demonstrate a facet of that vision.

Published by

Eric Lease Morgan

Artist- and Librarian-At-Large