Bridging the Gap Between Quantitative and Qualitative Research in Digital Newspaper Archives

by Thomas Smits on DIGITAL HUMANITIES NOW

Since the early 2000s, humanities 3.0, as Rens Bod has called it, was posited as being able to discover new patterns, mostly over long periods of time, that were overlooked by traditional qualitative approaches. A study by a team of academics led by Professor Nello Christianini of the University of Bristol made headlines: “This AI found trends hidden in British history for more than 150 years” (Wired) and “What did Big Data find when it analysed 150 years of British history? (Phys.org). Did Big Data and Humanities 3.0 finally deliver on its promise? And could the KB’s collection of digitized newspapers be used for similar research?

 

Richard March Hoe’s printing press – six cylinder design

The study, “Content analysis of 150 years of British periodicals”, is based on a corpus of 28.6 billion words, contained in 35.9 million articles of 120 regional, or local British newspapers from the period 1800-1950.  See full article…

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