Assistant Professor Eric Hoyt, UW-Madison (photo courtesy
Assistant Professor Eric Hoyt, UW-Madison (photo courtesy

We are very pleased to announce that Asst. Professor Eric Hoyt will present a brown bag talk on Friday, November 14 from noon-1:00 in Memorial Library, room 126.  His talk is part of the library’s ongoing Evolving Direction in Academic Research and Resources lecture series.  Eric’s exciting work is at the forefront of data mining in the Humanities, specifically digital media resources on the history of cinema, broadcasting, and recorded sound.

The Media History Digital Library has digitized 1.3 million pages of film and broadcasting books and magazines. How can we mine the data, interpret them, and think critically about them? To better interpret the broad range of sources now available, Hoyt proposes a new method called scaled entity search (SES), which he developed with Kit Hughes, Derek Long, Kevin Ponto, and Anthony Tran. The technical method of SES involves taking lists or hundreds or thousands of entities and running them as queries in a Solr index (which is the same open source search engine used by the UW Libraries).

The analytical method of SES invites researchers to examine the results by thinking critically about the relations among historical entities, scanned texts, and digital technology. Hoyt also calls attention to how new data mining methods can be productively integrated with the existing research methods of close reading, search, and archival research. This new methodological approach provides the foundation for Hoyt’s new book project, Trade Press Wars: An Archival & Algorithmic History, and the new web application, Arclight, which Hoyt and Charles Acland received a $200,000 Digging into Data grant to develop.

Eric Hoyt is Assistant Professor of Media & Cultural Studies in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Hollywood Vault: Film Libraries before Home Video (University of California Press, 2014) and co-director of the Media History Digital Library. He designed, developed, and produced the MHDL’s search and visualization platform, Lantern, which received the 2014 Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award from the Society for Cinema & Media Studies. He is the US PI of “Project Arclight: Analytics for the Study of 20th Century Media”which received a Digging into Data grant sponsored by IMLS and SSHRC.

This talk is sponsored by ASHIND, the libraries’ Area Studies, Social Sciences, and Humanities Interdisciplinary Group and its “Evolving Directions in Academic Research and Resources” committee:  Susan Barribeau, Julianne Haahr, Lyn Korenic (Chair), Emilie Songolo.