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Common for these days is that visualizations are used in every single corner of our lives, especially in digitized journals. Also, it is very rare to open any kind of written piece in professional fields, no matters if it is in sciences or humanities, and to have a just raw text without any visual representation. All the visual representations are helping us to better understand and to interpret the articles that we are reading. However, the role of visualization doesn’t stop at this point, further it leads us to our curiosity and makes us to think other possible questions and interpretations. Since, visualization has such a power for representing data in many different fields and initializing so many ideas, maybe the appropriate word for it would be “weapon” instead of “tool”.

In one study of big team made up of  Hyperstudio — MIT’s digital humanities research lab, MIT’s department of history, and the Bibliotheque-Musee de la Comédie-Française, the Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP) had idea to analyze data taken as the information from documents of repository of the Comédie-Française (CF), France’s national theater troupe [3]. These information were about repertories, expenses, costume designs etc. Their idea was to make online database of information in range of 100 years and to provide a option to search in database and a visualizing tool which could be used for different parameters. Doing visualization for different parameters could lead to new patterns and coming up with new questions. On the other hand, this, let’s say, methodology of data analysis for historical research should be fusion of “distant reading” and “close reading”.

The second paper argues the nice opportunity for visualizing large repositories of primary sources for historical insight. They were creating the secondary sources via macro-level reading and text-mining tools. Later on, they wanted to make visible pattern of topics like slightly changed conceptual and theoretical frames die to creating secondary source.  It was a project about published works in journal called Florida Historical Quarterly [2]After data visualization of FHQ journal articles they wanted to investigate an impact of some historical events that have great influence on historical interpretation. Actually, their goal is to investigate assumptions and understanding after reading original documents and new question that we came up with reading secondary sources, and influences of journal editors on historiographic orientation of the journal.

For third paper team composed by people from University of Oxford and University of Utah were interested to quantitative and qualitative components of poetry. They discussed interdisciplinary structured of poetry and computational science, thus, humanist should be more involved in software design [1]. Perhaps, here we have a bit different approach of using visualization of data, since it’s not only for analysis to get conclusions through different aspect about some phenomena, but it is also for analysis of the figures of speech, rhyme, meter and sounds.

We have insight in different approaches and different purposes of visualization in various fields of digital humanities. Through the mentioned papers we have realized that visualization could be very helpful to get information about trends in past times, sociopolitical state of nation, influences of some historical events on people’s taste culture. On the other hand, other approach shows us that we can have slightly biased perception of history if we analyze secondary sources and we can investigate their influences. Finally, in third approach we had something a bit different that gives us an opportunity to see how visualization could be used in various fields and to have powerful information based just on the one poem. To conclude the whole story, possibilities in digital humanities using visualization are so immeasurable what lead people from different fields to be involved in this kind of studies, therefore digital humanities is rapidly growing field, since it has so many people with different way of thinking. Final statement is that diversity of thinking and interpreting things are excellent for this field, but it wouldn’t be able without visualization.


[1] A. Abdul-Rahman et al (2013). Freedom and Flow: A New Approach to Visualizing Poetry. Digital Humanities 2013, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. July 2013. http://dh2013.unl.edu/abstracts/ab-143.html

[2] D. Stanley et al (2013). Visual Historiography: Visualizing “The Literature of the Field”. Digital Humanities 2013, Ohio State University, July 2013. http://dh2013.unl.edu/abstracts/ab-334.html

[3] J. Lipshin et al (2013). Visualizing Centuries: Data Visualization and the Comédie-Française Registers Project, Digital Humanities 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, July 2013. http://dh2013.unl.edu/abstracts/ab-458.html