Distant Readings of a Field: Using Macroanalytic Digital Research Methods to Data Mine the ELMCIP Knowledge Base

Abstract (in English): 

The ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base (http://elmcip.net/knowledgebase) is a human-edited, open-access, contributory Drupal database consisting of cross-referenced entries describing creative works of and critical writing about electronic literature as well as entries on authors, events, exhibitions, publishers, teaching resources and archives. The project has been developed by the Electronic Literature Research Group at the University of Bergen as an outcome of the ELMCIP project. All nodes are cross-referenced so users can see at a glance which works were presented at an event, and follow links to see which articles have been written about any given work or which other events they were presented at. Most records provide simple bibliographic metadata about a work or event, but increasingly we are also gathering source code of works, PDFs of papers and dissertations, videos of talks and performances, and other forms of archival documentation. While our first priority in designing the Knowledge Base was to provide a basic open-access online research infrastructure for an emergent field of scholarly and creative practice, providing researchers, teachers, and students with easy access to works, critical writing, and the context of a field, we are increasingly realizing its value as a base for further research in its own right. The Knowledge Base provides us with a growing pool of data that we are beginning to analyze using visualisations, social network analysis and other digital methods. This panel will consist of presentations of research developed by using information in the Knowledge Base as the basis for what Franco Moretti refers to as “Distant Reading” to better understand the discourse of the field and the works it encompasses. In this approach, instead of analysing individual works, we search for patterns across the entire field of electronic literature. The panel will present four different approaches to using the Knowledge Base to collect specific types of information related to objects, networks and practices of electronic literature and use digital methods to reveal patterns and trends from within the collected data that will hopefully inform a better understanding of specific aspects of the field.

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Record posted by: 
Scott Rettberg