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UiB E-Lit Panel at Chercher le texte (ELO 2013 in Paris)

Four members of the Electronic Literature Research Group at UiB will present their research in a joint panel at the ELO conference in Paris this year, "Chercher le texte".

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Tags used on creative works at ELO 2010
A visualisation showing relationships between tags used to describe creative works presented at the ELO conference in 2010. This is one of the kinds of visualisation we will be exploring in our panel at ELO 2013.
Photo:
Scott Rettberg

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

A Panel Proposal

Researchers: Scott Rettberg, Jill Walker Rettberg, Elisabeth Nesheim, and Luciana Gattass

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. These will include:

1) An analysis of the Electronic Literature Organization’s conference series that is harvested from the Knowledge Base, firstly using social network analysis to visualize the connections between people, events and works, and secondly using IssueCrawler to analyse URLs associated with the conference series and associated works.

2) More than 20 dissertations in the field of electronic literature have been documented in the Knowledge base, including tags, abstracts and in most cases links to full texts of the dissertations. We will conduct a keyword and keyphrase analysis of tags, abstracts, full texts, and citations of these dissertations to identify trends, patterns and information about an emerging canon.

3) While a guest researcher at the University of Bergen in 2012, Luciana Gattass has aggregated a research collection of information about authors, works, critical writing, events, publishers and organizations related to the practices of electronic literature in Brazil. We will use this for the basis of a comparative analysis of Brazilian electronic literature, identifying dominant genres of creative and critical practice, and exploring the possible correlation of geographical proximity and commonalities of practice.

4) We will explore a subset of creative and creative works commonly tagged and identified with a common theoretical concept, such as “embodiment” and related keywords, in order to see what other characteristics and commonalities these works share.