Examples of challenges and opportunities in visual analysis in the digital humanities

Holly Rushmeier, Ruggero Pintus, Christiana Wong, David Li
Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XX - 2015
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The massive digitization of books and manuscripts has converted millions of works that were once only physical into electronic documents. This conversion has made it possible for scholars to study large bodies of work, rather than just individual texts. This has offered new opportunities for scholarship in the humanities. Much previous work on digital collections has relied on optical character recognition and focused on the textual content of books. New work is emerging that is analyzing the visual layout and content of books and manuscripts. We present two different digital humanities projects in progress that present new opportunities for extracting data about the past, with new challenges for designing systems for scholars to interact with this data. The first project we consider is the layout and spectral content of thousands of pages from medieval manuscripts. We present the techniques used to study content variations in sets of similar manuscripts, and to study material variations that may indicate the location of manuscript production. The second project is the analysis of representations in the complete archive of Vogue magazine over 120 years. We present samples of applying computer vision techniques to understanding the changes in representation of women over time.

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BibTex references

  author       = {Rushmeier, H. and Pintus, R. and Wong, C. and Li, D.},
  title        = {Examples of challenges and opportunities in visual analysis in the digital humanities},
  booktitle    = {Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XX},
  year         = {2015},
  organization = {SPIE},
  keywords     = {visual analysis, digital humanities},
  url          = {},

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