Backed by a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the WhatEvery1Says (WE1S) project uses digital humanities methods—primarily topic modeling, complemented by such other methods as text classification—to study media discourse about the humanities at big data scales. Alan Liu, director of WE1S, will give an overview of the project and its open-source datasets and topic-model analysis, visualization, and interpretation tools (as well as its surveys of students and others providing a ground-truth perspective on views on the humanities). He will also highlight selected project outputs, including explanations of findings, methods, data, and tools in a “card” format inspired by new practices in data-model reporting.
The goal of the WE1S project is to provide advocates for the humanities with research-based materials and strategies for effective communication about the value of humanistic study and knowledge in today’s world.
Alan Liu is Distinguished Professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published books on Wordsworth: The Sense of History (1989); The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (2004); Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (2008), and Friending the Past: The Sense of History in the Digital Age (2018). Recent essays include “Toward a Diversity Stack: Digital Humanities and Diversity as Technical Problem”; "Is Digital Humanities a Field?—An Answer from the Point of View of Language"; "N + 1: A Plea for Cross-Domain Data in the Digital Humanities"; and "The Meaning of the Digital Humanities" (2013). Liu started the Voice of the Shuttle website for humanities research in 1994. He is founder and co-leader of the 4Humanities.org advocacy initiative, and Principal Investigator of the Mellon Foundation funded "WhatEvery1Says" project on public discourse about the humanities.