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Welcome to .txtLAB, a laboratory for cultural analytics at McGill University directed by Andrew Piper. We explore the use of computational and quantitative approaches towards understanding literature and culture in both the past and present. Our aim is to engage in critical and creative uses of the tools of network science, machine learning, or image processing to think about language, literature, and culture at both large and small scale.
News
Re-Boot Camp 2017!

Re-Boot Camp 2017!

Announcing Re-Boot Camp 2017! Come spend a week in Montreal to learn new skills in the computational analysis of literature at McGill University’s .txtLAB. During five full-day classes you will gain hands-on experience in applying techniques from the world of natural language processing and text analysis, including machine learning, topic modeling, sentiment analysis, and social network...
Identity: NovelTM Annual Workshop 2016

Identity: NovelTM Annual Workshop 2016

I am very pleased to announce the upcoming workshop for the NovelTM research group. This year’s theme is “Identity” and will be taking place at the Banff Research Centre in Banff, Alberta. For two days participants will meet and share new work that uses computational modelling to understand the various ways that novels construct identity...
CA Fall Preview: Food, Folklore and Lots of Novels

CA Fall Preview: Food, Folklore and Lots of Novels

We have some exciting new material that will be appearing shortly in CA: Journal of Cultural Analytics, which I thought I would share here. Dan Jurafsky, Victor Chahuneau, Bryan R. Routledge, and Noah A. Smith will have a new piece out on the relationship between food menus and social class. As they argue in their...
The Visibility of Knowledge

The Visibility of Knowledge

I am very pleased to announce that our new collaboration with Chad Wellmon and Mohamed Cheriet has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project is called “The Visibility of Knowledge: The Computational Study of Scientific Illustration in the Long Nineteenth Century.” Our aim is to study how scientific knowledge became...
.txtLAB Internships 2016: Computational Cultural Advocacy

.txtLAB Internships 2016: Computational Cultural Advocacy

.txtLAB is pleased to offer four undergraduate internships for the coming academic year. This year’s theme is “Cultural Advocacy: Women in the Public Sphere.” The aim of the internship is to address how women are both mis-represented and under-represented in the public discourse of book reviewing. Book reviews represent a significant cultural outlet that bestow...
CA Is  Here

CA Is Here

I am very pleased to announce the official launch of CA: Journal of Cultural Analytics. As we state in the journal’s mission statement: Cultural Analytics is a new journal dedicated to the computational study of culture. Its aim is to promote high quality scholarship that intervenes in contemporary debates about the study of culture using computational...
Announcing CA: Journal of Cultural Analytics

Announcing CA: Journal of Cultural Analytics

I am very pleased to announce the pending launch of CA: Journal of Cultural Analytics, an open-access web-based academic journal that will focus on the computational study of culture. CA’s mission is to use data-driven approaches towards the study of literature, culture and history. Our mandate is as capacious as it is focused: to transform...
Interview with BookNet Canada on algorithms, publishing and creative writing

Interview with BookNet Canada on algorithms, publishing and creative writing

I recently did a podcast with the BookNet group in Canada that focuses on the intersection of technology and books. They were interested in our research focusing on prizewinning and bestselling novels. My main emphasis in the discussion was to focus on the way computers can be useful for different kinds of audiences: for publishers to better understand the books...
How I predicted the Giller Prize (and still lost the challenge)

How I predicted the Giller Prize (and still lost the challenge)

This Fall we created a lab challenge to see if anyone could predict this year’s Giller Prize winner using a computer. The winner was announced last night, and it turns out I correctly predicted the winner. But I still lost the challenge. In this lies an instructive tale about humans, computers, and predicting human behaviour....
Congratulations to this year's .txtLAB interns!

Congratulations to this year’s .txtLAB interns!

The .txtLAB internship program held its end of the semester presentations this past week. Projects ranged from the study of prize-winning novels, comparisons of nineteenth-century histories, novels, and philosophy in three languages, the construction of an iPython notebook for reliably extracting social networks from novels, and finally a study of citation networks between supervisors and their...
.txtLAB Intern Fedor Karmanov speaks at ARIA Event

.txtLAB Intern Fedor Karmanov speaks at ARIA Event

Form .txtLAB intern and current undergraduate RA, Fedor Karmanov, presented his experience as an Arts Research Intern last summer to an audience of over 200 students and faculty last night at a packed event showcasing undergraduate research. As Fedor described his experience, he spent the summer learning about data collection and analysis and taught himself in the process...
.txtLAB Internship Winter 2015

.txtLAB Internship Winter 2015

.txtLAB is offering 3 internships for the Winter Semester available to undergraduate and graduate students. The internships will involve participation in lab research and the creation and completion of individual projects in cultural data mining. The internships will run from Feb. 1 through April 30. Application deadline is January 15, 2015. For more information, please...