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Advanced Visual Analytics Methods for Literature Analysis

Conference paper
Authors Daniela Oelke
Dimitrios Kokkinakis
Mats Malm
Published in Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities (LaTeCH). An EACL 2012 workshop. Avignon, France.
Volume Accepted
Pages 10
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Department of Swedish
Pages 10
Language en
Keywords Literature Analysis, Visual Analytics, Named Entities, Distant Reading, Macroanalysis
Subject categories Language Technology (Computational Linguistics), Humanities, General Language Studies and Linguistics, Specific Languages


The volumes of digitized literary collections in various languages increase at a rapid pace, which results also in a growing demand for computational support to analyze such linguistic data. This paper combines robust text analysis with advanced visual analytics and bring a new set of tools to literature analysis. Visual analytics techniques can offer new and unexpected insights and knowledge to the literary scholar. We analyzed a small subset of a large literary collection, the Swedish Literature Bank, by focusing on the extraction of persons’ names, their gender and their normalized, linked form, including mentions of theistic beings (e.g., Gods’ names and mythological figures), and examined their appearance over the course of the novel. A case study based on 13 novels, from the aforementioned collection, shows a number of interesting applications of visual analytics methods to literature problems, where named entities can play a prominent role, demonstrating the advantage of visual literature analysis. Our work is inspired by the notion of distant reading or macroanalysis for the analyses of large literature collections.

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