Visualizing The Western Home Monthly

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Project: In collaboration with Nicholas van Orden, I am exploring the use of visualization tools for reading the digital archive of The Western Home Monthly. The magazine’s 49,154 digitized pages defy standard literary critical approaches, and have encouraged us to turn instead to the affordances of distant reading in order to explore the patterns of repetition and difference that characterized this particular serial text. Our focus has been on the use of topic modelling and word frequencies to plot the remediation of a larger new media landscape on the magazine’s pages.

Deliverables: A proposed paper, “Remediation and the Development of Modernist Forms in The Western Home Monthly,” has been accepted for the proposed edited collection Reading Modernism with Machines (ed. James O’Sullivan and Shawna Ross). Some examples of our visualizations can also be found on the ModMag blog.

Skills and Tools: XML (METS/ALTO), MALLET (topic modelling), RapidMiner (text analysis), Voyant (text analysis), R (data visualization)


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