Several HT+BW examples in expository HTRC workshop in July at LSA-SI

The HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) will be doing a two-hour  expository workshop at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA)’s Biennial Linguistic Institute, at the University of Chicago, on July 13, 2015:  “The HathiTrust Research Center: Large-scale Computational Analysis with the World’s First Massive Digital Library.”

The workshop will touch upon all aspects of HTRC’s functionalities, but, especially since this is an expository rather than hands-on workshop, we will be spending quite a bit of time on HT+BW in particular, given that we felt that HT+BW’s interactive and instantly-gratifying responsiveness will lend itself well to keeping people alert and interested as they sit through two hours of discourse in a crowded room in midsummer! Here is a preview of the slides for the workshop. (The HT+BW slides are slides 16 through 39 in this slide deck).

In the slides, we explore the regular/irregular verb past tense of “wed”/”wedded” (an example that Erez Lieberman Aiden broached at the last HTRC UnCamp), and we make a tantalizing discovery that Shakespeare gets mixed up in the story when we try to follow the history of this pair. HT+BW is great for literary sleuthing, and thinking about irregular verbs is making me think of Sherlock Holmes and his Baker Street irregulars…

In other slides, we also extend our exploration of the fortunes of the “lady”/”woman” word pair, which we had showcased a couple of months ago in our public LibGuide to HT+BW but only for our earlier, running-with-much-fewer-volumes non-Google-digitized public domain prototype. This time, we plotted “lady”/”woman” for the full pre-1923 public domain content of about 4 million volumes, and we seem to be getting cleaner results. In the slides, we speculate about what this particular case may have to tell us about what effect less/more democracy and less/more of class-society may have on word usage.

Eleanor Dickson, who has recently joined the HTRC team as a visiting digital humanities specialist, also contributes to the slide deck her exploration of the trajectories of the word “playground” in the UK and the USA, which seem to  tell an interesting sociological story.