Apr 20
5:12 PM

Assignment 7

Initially I was unsure of what Topic Modeling would look like, before assignment 7 was officially started I attempted to create a Topic Model on the firefox version of Zotero, which didn’t work due to one of the many technical difficulties that were experienced during this assignment. In order to Utilize the topic modeling program, Paper Machines, it was determined we also needed the standalone version of Zotero rather than the Firefox edition, we also needed a large amount of material to pull samples from in order to properly create the model. Other members of the class and myself collected a total of 97 novels for the program to sample from. Topic Modeling involves using a computer to take a plethora of texts, randomizing their word order and grouping and then taking samples of the raw word data and comparing it to total word count of the whole sample, as well as determining what words are grouped closely to the samples which allows the computer to begin sorting the words into categories they are associated with. The books we used were all written in the same time period in order to prevent slang from different time periods being registered as a topic. I encountered Technical problems that prevented me from producing my own topic model with Zotero so the categories I am observing the results of the 50 topic .mallet file that Professor Evans sent. Many of the categories generated contain proper names that give away what books they reference, such as line 4 “holmes man mr sir watson house judge elizabeth cried” obviously a theme related to the books “Sherlock holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle which revolve around a detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his assistant Watson, elizabeth is watson’s love interest and as a detective, crimes often end with some involvement of a judge explaining the presence of the word. Other lines such as line 44 “good make give years leave till continued half answer” are very vague and offer little information to what the theme or books sampled could be. overall using Zotero as a Topic Modeling software was easy enough to understand and operate that I believe it could be adopted widespread as a tool for humanists who are uneasy with the mysteries of coding, however I believe that the technical issues involved with the program currently are limiting its potential.


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