Tag Archives: Historical data

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: http://www.densitydesign.org/ddfs13/degasperi/


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

Temporal Content Annotation

Our group, in collaboration with ILC-CNR, TrentoRise and HLT-FBK, is organizing a task devoted to the EValuation of Events aNd Temporal Information in Italian text within the EVALITA 2014 organization campaign .

In addition to the main task on contemporary news stories, we propose a pilot task on temporal processing of historical texts to promote the application of NLP techniques to the Digital Humanities domain.

For this reason Rachele is annotating De Gasperi’s writings about the outbreak of World War 1 with our tool CAT (Content Annotation Tool) following the It-TimeML specifications.

Screenshot of CAT: annotation of temporal expressions in a writing by De Gasperi dated 1914
Screenshot of CAT: annotation of temporal expressions in a writing by De Gasperi dated 1914

Annotated texts will be used to evaluate the performances of automatic Temporal Processing tools.

How do we define DH?

DH is the field in which Humanities and Information Technologies can interact and support each other.

On one side Humanistic competences can help Human Language Technologies to tackle one of the most difficult challenges of the discipline, which is the handling of the semantics of human language texts.

On the other side Information Technologies can support research activities where the analysis of texts and images plays a crucial role and that are traditionally qualified as Humanistic (e.g. Historical and Literary Studies; Cultural Heritage).