The tool GERTRUDE – world literature, intertextuality and crowdsourcing

29 January 2013, 6.15 pm Anatomy Museum Space, Strand Campus
Annette Gessner, Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities

Attendance is free and open to all, but registration is requested:

All kinds of texts are linked by citations, paraphrases, allusions, winged words or other textual concordances (or “text re-use”). But to try and find out how many intertextual relations there are, you’d have to spend a lot of time and energy.

In the Göttingen sub-project of eTRACES, a 3 years long project funded by the BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung), we want to address this issue of the humanities by bringing it to the field of the digital humanities. In our project, computer-scientists and researchers from the humanities are working together as a team: Prof. Gerhard Lauer from German literature, the Classicist Annette Geßner and the computer scientist Christian Kötteritzsch are working closely together with the natural language processing department of the Leipzig university. Using modern text-mining approaches, the main goal is to create a tool to automatically find text re-use and develop a digital environment – especially suited for digital editions – to evaluate and annotate those automatically found and manually added textual relations. The name of this tool is “Göttingen E-Research Text Re-Use for Digital Editions” or in short as an acronym GERTRUDE. The text corpus we currently work with is from, containing German literature from 1500 to 1900. Focusing on the so called world literature we try to find e.g. traces of the Luther-Bible or Goethe’s Faust in literature. Furthermore we aim to research how a computer-based approach affects the humanist’s work: How can it help us find and evaluate text re-use? How does it affect on the one hand the time that has to be spent and on the other and the accuracy of the automatically found results versus manually found results? And especially: How is a user affected by using a computer tool that generates results automatically? On the one hand it might be taking away an objective view, on the other perhaps it gives insights that are new and unexpected (Serendipity-effect). To explore these questions the GERTRUDE-tool is designed for crowdsourcing and will be brought to all kinds of users, starting with students who will first be asked to find manual re-use of for instance the bible and after that to use the tool. The work flow will in both approaches be monitored and compared as well as the results.

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