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Saturday, February 29 • 10:15am - 11:45am
Lexos: An Introductory Tool for a New "Close Reading"

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Mark LeBlanc and Kate Boylan, "Lexos: an introductory tool for a new "close reading"
As the Digital Humanities gains access to a wide array of digitized corpora and matures to a discipline that creatively defines new methods for computationally close and distant readings, a growing gap has emerged between those who apply sophisticated programming and those who are new to the game and need an introduction to the field.  Our open-source Lexos tools (lexos.wheatoncollege.edu) narrow the gap by providing an easy to use web-based interface that introduces scholars to a computational lens for close reading digitized texts in any language. Based on NEH-funded work over the last decade, a team of undergraduate programmers and humanities students and scholars have designed an interface that guides users through a workflow that highlights effective practices when conducting computational probes of digitized texts, including the steps of scrubbing (e.g., deciding how to deal with punctuation, special characters, <tags>, lemmatization, and stop words), cutting texts into segments, tokenization (counting word and character n-grams), introductory statistical analyses (e.g., clustering), and visualizations of results (e.g., plotting words or phrases of interest across an entire novel). At CTDH '20 we propose to engage audience members with a set of examples that instill confidence with using the tool as well as generate ideas for a wide variety of potential uses in languages from Old English to Mandarin in order to empower humanities scholars to ask new sets of questions of their digitized texts.


Mark LeBlanc

Wheaton College

Kate Boylan

Wheaton College

Saturday February 29, 2020 10:15am - 11:45am EST
LITC 182