All posts by DH group at FBK

Collaboration on data visualization

OK, we know…there is room for improvements in visualization within ALCIDE. For this reason we look forward to continuing our collaboration with @pciuccarelli and @densitydesign!

The first outcome of our collaboration with Density Design Lab is the visualization of our analysis on a subset of Alcide De Gasperi’s corpus developed by their students in Milan:


ALCIDE: co-occurrences and polarity of words

Our group is using the 3D library to graphically visualize co-occurrence networks within ALCIDE. The idea is to combine co-occurrences together with information about polarity of words involved in the network.

For Kennedy’s and Nixon’s speeches we have used SentiWords, a resource provided by FBK containing 155,000 words associated with a sentiment score.

Co-occurrences of the word “war” in Kennedy’s speeches during the 1960 election campaign
Co-occurrences of the word “war” in Nixon’s speeches during the 1960 election campaign

ALCIDE: working on maps

Our main effort today (and not only today!) is on the ALCIDE (Analysis of Languange and Content In a Digital Environment) platform.

The goal of this project is to enhance historical research, in particular the analysis of political discourse, with state-of-the-art natural language processing technologies. In the early stage of the project, we focused on the writings and speeches of Alcide De Gasperi, one of the founders of the Italian Republic. More recently, we have moved to the automatic analysis of 1960 US presidential campaign, processing Kennedy’s and Nixon’s speeches.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Therefore, as an example of ALCIDE’s functionalities, we show below the plot of the different locations covered by the candidates during the presidential campaign. Can anyone explain why Nixon visited only few times the West Coast compared to Kennedy?

Locations covered by Kennedy during his campaign: marker dimension is related to the number of speeches in each location
Locations covered by Nixon during his campaign: marker dimension is related to the number of speeches in each location

Based on the place of publication of De Gasperi’s public documents, ALCIDE can also show the places he visited more frequently during his activity. Enjoy!

Heat map of De Gasperi’s writings locations of publication

Collaboration with ISIG

A key aspect of Digital Humanities is interdisciplinarity. In the past year, we have been collaborating with the colleagues of the Italian-German Historical Institute (ISIG) to build a digital infrastructure to analyze and navigate historical corpora. Projects like this can be tough.  Luckily we have ISIG-sponsored chocolate to face hard research times.


ISIG Chocolate medal for group's 40th Anniversary
ISIG Chocolate medal for group’s 40th Anniversary