Special Issue "Digital Humanities"

A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489). This special issue belongs to the section "Information Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Cesar Gonzalez-Perez
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Heritage Sciences (Incipit), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Avda. Vigo, s/n, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: conceptual modeling; metamodeling; cultural heritage; discourse; semantics; situational method engineering

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Digital humanities have been described as carrying out humanistic work with the support of digital tools and/or doing humanistic work concerning the digital world. In either case, digital humanities are in vogue, and many researchers in the humanities regularly carry out their work in information- and computing-intensive settings. However, there is no consensus on what digital humanities are, whether they constitute a new discipline, or what their scope is supposed to be.

This Special Issue of Information attempts to shed some light on these issues by focusing on the role information plays in humanistic research and, specifically, how humanistic knowledge is generated, communicated, used, and institutionalized through information-intensive tools, techniques, and methods. Relevant areas are those that are important to the humanities, such as how things are documented and described; how natural language is incorporated into the research process; how time, space, subjectivity, change, and multilingualism affect reasoning and knowledge production; how computing techniques (such as big data, artificial intelligence, visualization, and many others) can help in the humanities; how socio-technical issues (such as specialized education, social networks, information reuse, or multidisciplinarity) impact humanities research; and any other aspects of humanistic research that are often performed in information-intensive settings.

I hope this initiative is of interest to you, and I look forward to your submissions.

Dr. Cesar Gonzalez-Perez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Digital humanities
  • Information modeling
  • Discourse and language analysis
  • Representation of time and space
  • Representation of subjectivity
  • Representation of change

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Capturing the Silences in Digital Archaeological Knowledge
Information 2020, 11(5), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11050278 - 21 May 2020
Abstract
The availability and accessibility of digital data are increasingly significant in the creation of archaeological knowledge with, for example, multiple datasets being brought together to perform extensive analyses that would not otherwise be possible. However, this makes capturing the silences in those data—what [...] Read more.
The availability and accessibility of digital data are increasingly significant in the creation of archaeological knowledge with, for example, multiple datasets being brought together to perform extensive analyses that would not otherwise be possible. However, this makes capturing the silences in those data—what is absent as well as present, what is unknown as well as what is known—a critical challenge for archaeology in terms of the suitability and appropriateness of data for subsequent reuse. This paper reverses the usual focus on knowledge and considers the role of ignorance—the lack of knowledge, or nonknowledge—in archaeological data and knowledge creation. Examining aspects of archaeological practice in the light of different dimensions of ignorance, it proposes ways in which the silences, the range of unknowns, can be addressed within a digital environment and the benefits which may accrue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Humanities)
Open AccessArticle
Software Support for Discourse-Based Textual Information Analysis: A Systematic Literature Review and Software Guidelines in Practice
Information 2020, 11(5), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11050256 - 07 May 2020
Abstract
The intrinsic characteristics of humanities research require technological support and software assistance that also necessarily goes through the analysis of textual narratives. When these narratives become increasingly complex, pragmatics analysis (i.e., at discourse or argumentation levels) assisted by software is a great ally [...] Read more.
The intrinsic characteristics of humanities research require technological support and software assistance that also necessarily goes through the analysis of textual narratives. When these narratives become increasingly complex, pragmatics analysis (i.e., at discourse or argumentation levels) assisted by software is a great ally in the digital humanities. In recent years, solutions have been developed from the information visualization domain to support discourse analysis or argumentation analysis of textual sources via software, with applications in political speeches, debates, online forums, but also in written narratives, literature or historical sources. This paper presents a wide and interdisciplinary systematic literature review (SLR), both in software-related areas and humanities areas, on the information visualization and the software solutions adopted to support pragmatics textual analysis. As a result of this review, this paper detects weaknesses in existing works on the field, especially related to solutions’ availability, pragmatic framework dependence and lack of information sharing and reuse software mechanisms. The paper also provides some software guidelines for improving the detected weaknesses, exemplifying some guidelines in practice through their implementation in a new web tool, Viscourse. Viscourse is conceived as a complementary tool to assist textual analysis and to facilitate the reuse of informational pieces from discourse and argumentation text analysis tasks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Humanities)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Exploring West African Folk Narrative Texts Using Machine Learning
Information 2020, 11(5), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11050236 - 26 Apr 2020
Abstract
This paper examines how machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) can be used to identify, analyze, and generate West African folk tales. Two corpora of West African and Western European folk tales are compiled and used in three experiments on cross-cultural [...] Read more.
This paper examines how machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) can be used to identify, analyze, and generate West African folk tales. Two corpora of West African and Western European folk tales are compiled and used in three experiments on cross-cultural folk tale analysis. In the text generation experiment, two types of deep learning text generators are built and trained on the West African corpus. We show that although the texts range between semantic and syntactic coherence, each of them contains West African features. The second experiment further examines the distinction between the West African and Western European folk tales by comparing the performance of an LSTM (acc. 0.79) with a BoW classifier (acc. 0.93), indicating that the two corpora can be clearly distinguished in terms of vocabulary. An interactive t-SNE visualization of a hybrid classifier (acc. 0.85) highlights the culture-specific words for both. The third experiment describes an ML analysis of narrative structures. Classifiers trained on parts of folk tales according to the three-act structure are quite capable of distinguishing these parts (acc. 0.78). Common n-grams extracted from these parts not only underline cross-cultural distinctions in narrative structures, but also show the overlap between verbal and written West African narratives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Humanities)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
One Archaeology: A Manifesto for the Systematic and Effective Use of Mapped Data from Archaeological Fieldwork and Research
Information 2020, 11(4), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11040222 - 17 Apr 2020
Abstract
The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) Directive (2007) requires public organisations across Europe to share environmentally-related spatial datasets to support decision making and management of the environment. Despite the environmental focus of INSPIRE, it offers limited guidance for archaeological datasets. Most [...] Read more.
The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) Directive (2007) requires public organisations across Europe to share environmentally-related spatial datasets to support decision making and management of the environment. Despite the environmental focus of INSPIRE, it offers limited guidance for archaeological datasets. Most primary data is created outside, but ultimately curated within, the public sector. As spatial evidence from fieldwork activities is not considered by the Directive, it overlooks a range of barriers to sharing data, such as project-based fieldwork, a lack of data standards, and formatting and licencing variations. This paper submits that these challenges are best addressed through the formalised management of primary research data through an archaeological Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). SDIs deliver more efficient data management and release economic value by saving time and money. Better stewardship of archaeological data will also lead to more informed research and stewardship of the historic environment. ARIADNE already provides a digital infrastructure for research data, but the landscape and spatial component has been largely overlooked. However, rather than developing a separate solution, the full potential of spatial data from archaeological research can and should be realised through ARIADNE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Humanities)
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Open AccessArticle
Ontology-Mediated Historical Data Modeling: Theoretical and Practical Tools for an Integrated Construction of the Past
Information 2020, 11(4), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11040182 - 28 Mar 2020
Abstract
Building upon the concepts of constructed past theory, this paper introduces the outcome of ontology-mediated data modeling developed by the authors within the last 15 years. Assuming that the past is something constructed through reflection of former times, one of our major concerns [...] Read more.
Building upon the concepts of constructed past theory, this paper introduces the outcome of ontology-mediated data modeling developed by the authors within the last 15 years. Assuming that the past is something constructed through reflection of former times, one of our major concerns is guaranteeing the traceability of the construction process of an integrated historical discourse built from all available sources of information, regardless of their origin or nature. Therefore, by means of defining key concepts such as ‘unit of topography’ and ‘actor’, we created an information system for data gathering and exploitation and applied it to some experiences of construction of the past. When applied within the archaeological domain, the result is an archaeological information system interoperable with other sources of historical information. Its strength is that it ensures the traceability of the process from the beginning avoiding the introduction and repetition of errors within the system. Along with the main case example developed in this paper, we also summarize some other data modeling examples within the same conceptual framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Humanities)
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Language Distance of Isolated European Languages
Information 2020, 11(4), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11040181 - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
Phylogenetics is a sub-field of historical linguistics whose aim is to classify a group of languages by considering their distances within a rooted tree that stands for their historical evolution. A few European languages do not belong to the Indo-European family or are [...] Read more.
Phylogenetics is a sub-field of historical linguistics whose aim is to classify a group of languages by considering their distances within a rooted tree that stands for their historical evolution. A few European languages do not belong to the Indo-European family or are otherwise isolated in the European rooted tree. Although it is not possible to establish phylogenetic links using basic strategies, it is possible to calculate the distances between these isolated languages and the rest using simple corpus-based techniques and natural language processing methods. The objective of this article is to select some isolated languages and measure the distance between them and from the other European languages, so as to shed light on the linguistic distances and proximities of these controversial languages without considering phylogenetic issues. The experiments were carried out with 40 European languages including six languages that are isolated in their corresponding families: Albanian, Armenian, Basque, Georgian, Greek, and Hungarian. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Humanities)
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