DH Praxis Data Project: Building a Finnegans Wake dataset

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Who knew that Finnegans Wake would one day be reduced to cells in a spreadsheet?

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 For a long time, I wanted to do experiments with Finnegans Wake and data visualizations. This recent assignment gave me this chance so I quickly started to try to think about it. The first thing I had to do was figure out my dataset. Obviously Finnegans Wake is fiction and relies heavily on an idioglossia of Joyce’s design so it might be tough to pinpoint distinct data points for the book. This meant that I had to take a step back and look at the book from a very removed perspective to start -what better a dataset for this book than its own lexicon and frequencies? Studying the Wake in the past led me to remember a couple of different online tools like Fweet, which is a search engine for the book, and Finwake which is an online annotated version. However, the most useful gathered data would have to be from Eric Rosenbloom’s Concordance of Finnegans Wake which he compiled apparently in the late 1990s. Throughout this project, there will definitely be certain data constraints considering the fact that no major datasets have really been constructed for the Wake.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 To continue reading, please visit my blog HERE.

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  1. Posted November 16, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Greg, there’s a lot here, and you’ve managed to take your project really far in a short period of time! You may want to consider as you move ahead how doing this kind of project with a constructed concordance relates to doing similar text analysis with the full text of the novel. Which of the tools that you’ve experimented with do you think you might be likely to continue using? Which of these experiments seemed more valuable to you than others? A really capacious approach to so many different technologies here. Looking forward to next steps!

  2. Posted November 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Greg. I’m impressed by how far you’ve already taken this. My first question in all such data projects is: How much do you trust the data you are suing, that is the Rosenbloom Concordance? Is it generally accepted in the field as a reasonable capture of an admittedly utterly unique piece of writing? You’ve tried so many different approaches and tools already, it’s probably a good moment to step back and assess carefully and critically what you’ve learned so far before you plunge ahead with ever more intricate data analysis. Congratulations on your fearless immersion into one of the tougher pieces of writing around.

    • Posted November 21, 2016 at 2:29 am | Permalink

      I completely understand the skepticism regarding this data and I think that if I were to continue with this dataset, I would take the complete text file of FW and run it through a couple of concordance generator scripts with GUIs and compare the results to see how accurate the original set was. The reliability of the data even went over my head when I was creating it, so it’s definitely good to get some grounding like this and really ask these questions.


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