DH + DS: The Machine as Horizon of Interpretation

DH + DS: The Machine as Horizon of Interpretation

A transdisciplinary conference on
the intersection between data science and digital humanities

featuring a keynote by

Matt Jockers

Matt Jockers

Associate Dean for Research & Partnerships
and Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of English
at the University of Nebraska
Director of the Nebraska Literary Lab 

and former Director of the  Stanford Literary Lab

Novel Analytics from James Joyce to the Bestseller Code

To better understand bestselling fiction, Matthew Jockers and research partner Jodie Archer took the advice of Google researchers who argue that we should “embrace complexity and make use of the best ally we have: the unreasonable effectiveness of data.”  Instead of seeking a formula or telling authors how to write a successful novel, Jockers and Archer went to the books, thousands of them, and leveraged computation to ask a simple question: “what are these texts made of?”  The bold claim of their research, documented in The Bestseller Code, is that novels that hit the New York Times bestseller list are not random lottery winners but books that share an uncanny number of textual features.  In this lecture, Jockers will describe how he went from being a close reader of language in Joyce’s Ulysses to mining thousands of novels in search of the linguistic patterns most typical to books that best sell.


Morning Session / Nau Hall, Room 101

9:00   Welcoming Remarks

9:10    Keynote Address

10:30  Coffee Break

10:50  Panel Discussion with Don Brown (Systems Engineering and Director of the Data Science Institute); Alison Booth (Director, Scholars Lab), Worthy  Martin (Computer Science and Director of IATH), Bill Pearson (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics), and Matt Jockers.

12:00  Break for Lunch

Afternoon Session /  Alderman Library, Room 317

2 to 3:30 Open Discussion with UVA President’s Fellows and others

3:30         Concluding Remarks

The conference is supported by the Page-Barbour Fund
and sponsored by SHANTI, the Department of Philosophy, 
the Center for the Study of Data and Knowledge,
a Data Science Institute Center of Excellence