Time affects information retrieval in many ways. Collections of documents change as new items are indexed. The content of documents themselves may change. Users submit queries at particular moments in time. And perhaps most importantly, people’s assessment of a document’s relevance to a query is often time-dependent. For example, searchers of news archives might seek information on a past event where relevant documents cluster in a window of time. Users of social media services such as Twitter demand topically relevant information that is new. People who monitor particular topics in the news (for example, editors of Wikipedia) take action when they find information that is topically relevant and that changes current knowledge. The traces of information created by change in documents,...
RESEARCHERS WORKING IN THIS AREA
RELATED RESEARCH PROJECTS
National Science Foundation
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The past decade has seen tremendous progress in the field of preservation, particularly with respect to preservation of digital materials. To date, however, there has been only minimal research activity within North America on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage—such as language, cuisine, performing arts, and traditional craftsmanship—and its relationship to the preservation of material expressions of culture. Given the importance of intangible heritage to the cultural and scholarly record, a more significant research program in this area would be of benefit to the scholarly community. In order to launch such a research program, the investigators believe it would be helpful to organize a meeting of individuals and organizations with a strong interest in the preservation of...
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
This HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) project seeks to produce the first large-scale cross-cultural study of the novel according to quantitative methods. Ever since its putative rise in the eighteenth century, the novel has emerged as a central means of expressing what it means to be modern. And yet despite this cultural significance, we still lack a comprehensive study of the novel’s place within society that accounts for the vast quantity of novels produced since the eighteenth century, the period most often identified as marking the origins of the novel’s quantitative rise. Our aim is thus twofold: 1) to enliven our understanding of one of the most culturally significant modern art forms according to new computational means, and 2) to establish the methodological foundations of a...
University of Illinois Research Board
This project expands Tilley’s investigation of comics from the perspective of readers, a much-neglected group in both contemporary and historical research. Comics readership among young people peaked in the mid-twentieth century with levels reaching near 100%, yet there has been little scholarly investigation of this phenomenon. Funding for this project will enable archival research trips and hourly research support to complete data collection necessary for a single-author monograph that will provide a coherent examination of the social and cultural role of comics in United States’s children’s print culture throughout the twentieth century.
One of the enduring attractions of books is their ability to stand witness to their own presence through time and space. A history of social interaction is marked on the pages of a book; a folded corner, a stain from a careless reader's cup of coffee, and a thoughtful comment in the margin accrue and transmit something of where the book has been, with whom, and under what circumstances. Characterized by Walter Benjamin as the particular historical testimony that adheres to a unique body, the auratic quality of the singular object must now be reconciled with digital entities that can be concurrently embodied in different material configurations. Rather than summoning a Benjaminian aura that is attached to a specific materiality, then, the performance of the digital entices the reader in...
This project uses the friendship bracelet as a way to "re-weave" the academic canon. Friendship bracelets are handmade macramé bracelets of embroidery thread, intended to be worn as a sign of lasting friendship. In this collaboration with Julia Pollack (MS '12), bracelets have been woven with bibliographical references to important work of women in the field of knowledge-production.
The bracelets, with their citations in the author-date format of the Chicago Manual of Style, index scholarship by women across the disciplines about the making of knowledge, as well as the invisible practice of librarianship that is often undertaken by women. Weaving bibliographical references into friendship bracelets offers a novel way to foreground and consider the labor that underpins knowledge...
IN THE NEWS
Professor Emeritus Abdul Alkalimat will give the keynote presentation at the 30th Symposium on African American Culture and Philosophy, which will be held from December 1-3 at Purdue University. This year's symposium will explore the "humanity" in the digital humanities as well as Africana/Black studies' perspectives.
In his talk, "The Sankofa Principle: From the Drum to the Digital," Alkalimat will present the results of twenty years of scholarship regarding how digital information technology can change the field of African American Studies.
"Sankofa is a Twi word from Ghana that means 'go back and fetch it,' emphasizing the role of a historical perspective in epistemology," Alkalimat...
Associate Professor Carol Tilley is the co-author of a chapter in The Routledge Companion to Comics, a newly published book edited by Frank Bramlett, Roy T. Cook, and Aaron Meskin. In the chapter, "Teaching and Learning with Comics," Tilley and Robert G. Weiner, a humanities librarian at Texas Tech University, examine how comics have been used as an instructional tool:
This chapter emphasizes the use of comics in formal instructional settings, although some examples and discussions touch on elements of nontraditional and informal learning settings. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to provide a detailed review of the full history of conventionally published and educational comics used for teaching and learning, but we will highlight both historical and contemporary texts and practices with a focus on the United States. Furthermore, the emphasis will be on positive examples of practice rather than on critiques of comics as educational tools. Finally, we will touch on...
Doctoral candidate Melissa Villa-Nicholas successfully defended her dissertation, "Latinas in Telecommunications: Intersectional Experiences in the Bell System," on June 30.
Her committee includes Professor Linda Smith (chair); Safiya Noble (director of research; assistant professor, University of California, Los Angeles Graduate School of Education & Information Studies); Angharad Valdivia (professor of media studies and research professor of communications at Illinois); and Sharra Vostral (associate professor of history, Purdue University).
Associate Professor Jerome McDonough and Rhiannon Bettivia, who recently defended her dissertation at GSLIS, will participate in the third biennial conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, which will be held June 3-8 in Montreal. The theme of the conference is, “What Does Heritage Change?”
Thanks to research conducted by Associate Professor Carol Tilley, the work of one of the most influential anti-comics voices has been debunked. Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s evidence of the negative effects of comic readership on young people hasn’t been taken seriously by scholars in decades, but a new discovery by Tilley shows that even when Wertham’s claims were taken as fact by many—in the 1940s and 1950s—a small but vocal group was already questioning his methods.
One of those who spoke out against Wertham was David Pace Wigransky, a teen whose letter in the Saturday Review of Literature gained attention for challenging Wertham’s claims in 1948.
Tilley recently discovered another piece by Wigransky, a satire of Wertham’s life and work in a most fitting medium—the comic book. She gives a detailed account of...
A new book by alumnus David Hunter (PhD '89), The Lives of George Frideric Handel, is part biography and part genre case study. The famous composer’s life has been documented in numerous biographies, which Hunter scrutinized to differentiate history from interpretation. His findings led to this new work, which was published recently by Boydell Press.
From the publisher’s description: To evaluate the familiar, even over-familiar, story of Handel's life could be seen as a quixotic endeavour. How can there be anything new to say? This book seeks to distinguish fact from fiction, not only to produce a new biography but also to explore the concepts of biography and dissemination by using Handel's life and lives as a case study. By...
Associate Professor Bonnie Mak will travel to the United Arab Emirates in March to take part in a workshop at New York University’s Abu Dhabi Institute. “Charisma of the Book: Global Perspectives for the 21st Century,” will be held March 12-14.
Mak will be among twenty-five invited scholars and book artists from around the world who will gather together to engage in conversations on “the history and future of the book, exploring comparative and interdisciplinary interpretations and applications of the concept of charisma.” The group will address questions such as, “How might the concept of charisma illuminate the materialization—and marginalization—of the book's cultural status and social power in the digital age? What does a transcultural history of the physical artifact of the book reveal about the social interfaces and media platforms...