Spring 2016 - Dime Novels
In this course student team members used text mining technology to explore the University Libraries’ large digital collection of Dime Novels.
Text mining, a variety of data mining, provides researchers with an opportunity to analyze very large bodies of text, much more than an individual could ever read with understanding. Text mining software reveals patterns within a collection of works. One basic technology, topic modeling, reveals the frequency with which specific words occur in a set of texts, and which most frequently appear in close proximity to each other. It is especially useful in determining the subject matter of unlabeled text(s). Another, sentiment analysis, helps researchers to evaluate a writer’s attitude or emotional state pertaining to a topic, or her/his intended emotional communication (i.e., the emotions that the author hopes to evoke in the reader).
Dime Novels emerged as an inexpensive format for popular literature in the mid-nineteenth century and remained popular in the first decades of the twentieth century. Early dime novels frequently told stories of the American West, and in the succeeding decades authors expanded their focus to include detective fiction, romances, as other genres. Until recently most scholars of American literature rejected Dime Novels as a mass-produced product with little literary value. In recent years a new generation of researchers, including those more broadly interested in American popular culture, have delved into them.
In addition to its scholarly applications, text mining technology is widely used in many aspects of private business, including social media monitoring and automated online ad placement. It has also proven valuable in the public sector, for example in the national security/intelligence community.
Additional information can be found in this recent WNIJ story.
The goal of this project was to create an inexpensive virtual reality experience to help users better visualize the three-dimensional models, representations, and graphs that are critical to learning advanced mathematics like Calculus. The ideal solution would strengthen the ability of students to be mentally fluent moving between symbolic equations, two dimensional diagrams, and three dimensional mental representations. Using relatively inexpensive hardware (a computer, the Oculus Rift and a game controller) and open source software developed as a part of this project, we would like to give advanced mathematics students and instructors a new way to explore three-dimensional representations of mathematics from a first person, immersive perspective. We hope that this experience would not only allow students to achieve a greater understanding of the particular model or graph being examined, but also scaffold students’ creation of their own mental three-dimensional representations of symbolic equations and two dimensional diagrams.
Read more: Oculus Rift