By Katie Edgerton on November 15, 2012
On Monday, November 19, HyperStudio’s Research Assistants Jia Zhang and Jason Lipshin will be presenting a collaboratively authored paper about HyperStudio’s ongoing Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP) at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science. Joint authors are: MIT Professor Jeffrey Ravel, HyperStudio’s Executive Director Kurt Fendt, Jia Zhang and Jason Lipshin.
The paper entitled “Visualizing centuries: Deep insights into cultural production before the French Revolution,” centers on the challenges of visualizing historical data. For several years, the HyperStudio team has been working with Professor Ravel in MIT’s History Department and the Comédie-Française in Paris to digitize paper registers containing more than a century of box office sales. This wealth of information – covering over 113 seasons – is a vital resource for theater and literature scholars as well as humanists interested in the political, social, and cultural history of France and the Western world.
The Comédie-Française Registers Project addresses two main audiences. The first is French theatre historians, to whom the project will provide greater disciplinary knowledge by giving them digital access to rare archival materials and offering innovative research tools that allow them to detect patterns in cultural production and consumption in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The second audience is digital humanists. Through the Comédie-Française Registers Project, HyperStudio is developing innovative methodologies that enable macro and micro-level analysis. Many of these methodologies turn on the development of tools for data visualization that can enlighten both the research process as well as the outcome.
These new kinds of data visualizations will enable scholars to address questions beyond the scope of traditional humanistic research methods. For example, what do sales records and repertory trends tell us about changing patterns of author, play, and genre popularity in the years leading up to the French revolution? Integrated research tools such as faceted browsers allow for complex and fine-grained filtering of all data and enable their analysis in novel combinations.
The Comédie-Française Registers Project team will tackle these issues on Monday’s visualization Panel, beginning at 11:15 am in Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago.
For more information, please visit the Comédie-Française Registers Project website.