Digging by Debating

Digging by Debating is a collaborative research project involving two teams at Indiana University in the USA and three teams in the UK: University of Dundee, University of East London and University of London. Our goal is to marry high level views of huge collections of text to the kinds of detailed argumentative analysis that is central to much scholarly research and public discussion of science and humanities.

What are we digging for and why?

Starting with 2.6 million volumes available in the HathiTrust/GoogleBooks collection, we are developing ways of searching and visualizing the interactions among humanities and sciences, based on models of argument, starting with philosophy and psychology. The tools we are adapting and extending will allow scholars and interested members of the public to map the interactions among these fields, and use such maps to burrow down to the level of single texts and analyze the arguments that they contain. Our efforts show how the computational humanities can start to bridge the gulf between the “big data” perspective of first-generation digital humanities and the close readings of text that are the “bread and butter” of more traditional scholarship in the humanities.

The project is funded by the Digging into Data Challenge through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the USA and, amongst others in Europe and the UK, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB).

Status and Events

  • April 17, 2014
    Colin Allen giving lunchtime talk “Expertise in Words” at NEH in Washington, DC.
  • April 15, 2014
    Project paper accepted at ACL Argument Mining Workshop for June 26 in Baltimore, MD.
  • April 10, 2014
    Paper accepted for presentation at Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks — 5th Leonardo satellite symposium at NetSci2014, Berkeley, CA, June 3, 2014.
  • April 3, 2014
    Digging by Debating project concluded and final report submitted to JISC.
  • October 12, 2013
    Colin Allen, Katy Börner, and Andrew Ravenscroft at Digging into Data all-projects meeting, Montreal
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