Digital Tools and Conceptual History

Ben Schmidt

Visiting Fellow, Cultural Observatory @ Harvard

What can computers do for conceptual history?

What can't they do?

What are they doing already?

Is search enough?

History of digital research

The Origin Story: Robert Busa, SJ, 1949

Mosteller and Wallace: Authorship attribution in the federalist papers

'Stylometrics' and 'Cliometrics'

Automated Classifications

Digital as play

Digital results as artifacts to generate questions

"The Hermeneutics of Screwing Around"

Big Data

Google Ngrams!

Big data in history

Data Mining with Criminal Intent/The Old Bailey Online


Just sociology?

Needs more texts

Finding Hand Crafted Texts

Project Gutenberg

Text Encoding Initiative

EEBO-TCP:Early Modern English in TEI

Digitally Scanned





And Newspapers

--Ted Underwood, University of Illinois

Know Your Corpus

And Newspapers

Know Your Corpus

The Republic of Letters

Mapping the Republic of Letters

Tracking discursive changes

Ted Underwood

Locating Change

Matthew Wilkens