Ubiquitous Text Analysis


  • Geoffrey Rockwell University of Alberta
  • Stéfan G. Sinclair McMaster University
  • Stan Ruecker University of Alberta
  • Peter Organisciak University of Illinois


visualization, data analysis, datamining, digital humanities, exploratory data analysis, data visualization


How can digital content be connected to text analysis tools? The TAPoR (Text Analysis Portal for Research) provided a workbench model, but usability studies suggest that a workbench was not how humanists thought of doing their research - humanists start with the text and apply tools as lenses for analyzing the text. This led us to experiment with ubiquitous tools that can be embedded in the user’s environment or in the text, be it an online journal or blog. In this paper, we survey a number of experiments leading up to TAToo (Text Analysis for you Too) and Voyeur Tools  both of which allow humanists to bring computational linguistic analysis and visualization, among other things, into their habitual research environments, and to thereby render those environments dynamic, with living, breathing data.

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Author Biographies

Geoffrey Rockwell, University of Alberta

Dr. Geoffrey Martin Rockwell is a Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta, Canada. He received a B.A. in philosophy from Haverford College, an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Toronto and worked at the University of Toronto as a Senior Instructional Technology Specialist. From 1994 to 2008 he was at McMaster University where he was the Director of the Humanities Media and Computing Centre (1994 - 2004) and he led the development of an undergraduate Multimedia program funded through the Ontario Access To Opportunities Program. He has published and presented papers in the area of philosophical dialogue, textual visualization and analysis, humanities computing, instructional technology, computer games and multimedia. He is the project leader for the CFI (Canada Foundation for Innovation) funded project TAPoR, a Text Analysis Portal for Research, which has developed a text tool portal for researchers who work with electronic texts and he organized a SSHRC funded conference, The Face of Text in 2004. He has published a book "Defining Dialogue: From Socrates to the Internet" with Humanity Books.

Stéfan G. Sinclair, McMaster University

Stéfan Sinclair is an Associate Professor of Multimedia. His areas of interest include computer-assisted literary text analysis, experimental visualization interfaces, and 20th Century French literature (especially Oulipo), computer-assisted text-analysis. He is the creator or co-developer of online Digital Humanities tools such as HyperPo , the TAPoR Portal, the Humanities Visualization Project. His Ph.D. in French Literature is from Queen’s University (2000), his M.A. in French literature is from the University of Victoria (1995), and his honours B.A. in French is from the University of British Columbia (1994).

Stan Ruecker, University of Alberta

Dr. Stan Ruecker is an Associate Professor of Humanities Computing in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He is a graduate of the University of Regina (BA Hons English 1985, BSc Computer Science 1988), the University of Toronto (MA English 1989), and the University of Alberta (MDes 1999, PhD 2003). His PhD research  was on the affordances of prospect for computer interfaces to large, interpretively-tagged text collections. His postdoctoral research dealt with browsing interfaces for electronic documents. His current research interests are in the areas of computer-human interfaces, humanities visualization, and information design.

Peter Organisciak, University of Illinois

PhD in Library and Information Studies August 2010-present | University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA

MA in Humanities Computing, with Specialization in Library and Information Studies

September 2008-August 2010 | University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada