European Summer University in Digital Humanities

Participant in “Culture & Technology” – The European Summer University in Digital Humanities (ESU DH) which was held in Leipzig and lasted from 16 July to 27 July, 2018.

Erdal Ayan has been an Academic Assistant in the department of Digital History & IT at Herder Institute, Marburg, since November, 2017. He is responsible for data visualization, software testing and text analysis. He has got research interests in Corpus Linguistics and process of corpora building for educational and scientific research purposes.

ESU DH is a member of International Digital Humanities Training Network. It is a significant annual international academic event which has been organized since 2009. The major focus of the event is on Digital Humanities. There are workshops from different topics and fields in ESU DH. The participants of ESU DH can attend workshops that they prefer in accordance with their needs and academic interests during the application process. But ESU DH is not only limited to the workshops since teaser sessions, lectures, project presentations and panels are also available for the workshop participants. There were eleven workshops managed by experts for the participants in this year and Erdal Ayan took part in the workshop, titled Word Vectors and Corpus Text Mining with Python. Erdal Ayan received a fellowship by CLARIN-D and supported by Herder Institute. Below you can read about his experience in ESU DH-2018.

Thanks to all Supporters

It is worth to mention that it was my first time to visit ESU. Therefore, I want to begin with special thanks to the head of my department, Barbara Fichtl who informed me about ESU DH in Leipzig. CLARIN-D, providing me with fellowship and organizing committee of European Summer University, accepting me as a workshop participant and administration of Herder Institute, supporting me to take part in the workshop and academic events, all deserve my gratitude. I do not wish to miss it without conveying my particular thanks to Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Burr and her assistants for their endless efforts.

About the Workshop and My Experience

The workshop that I participated in was given by an expert, Eun Seo Jo from Stanford University, USA. I should accept that I took advantage of the workshop, which was a lot more than what I expected in terms of scope and content. The workshop was extensively informative about processing large scale texts, concepts and methods dealing with machine learning and Word2Vec.

Python was used as programming language and main tool to analyze textual data. Python is actually a common purpose programming language but it is nowadays a popular tool for the researchers, particularly Corpus Linguists and those who have research interests in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. Using Python for text analysis was an exciting experience for me. I believe my experience even went beyond the scope of the workshop and Python programming. It encouraged me a lot to learn about basic functions of the software and Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK) library. It was also  significant to improve my knowledge on web crawling, tokenization/annotation processes, categorization of the textual data, machine learning, topic modeling, similarity and sentimental analysis via Python. The results from the workshop were shared with other participants in particular sessions.

I enjoyed being part of workshop, hosting many other students from/with different countries and background knowledge. I think international atmosphere and positive encouragement by Eun Seo Jo contributed a lot to my experience and gave me unique chance to create international collaborations with colleagues for future projects.

Herder Institute’s Newspaper Archive

In this sense, I am now planning to combine several of the methodologies with potential projects, which are going to be on multilingual text analysis of the newspaper archive produced at Herder Institute. A potential workshop on Python for textual analysis in Herder Institute is also in my agenda. Moreover, I found opportunity to attend other workshops on XML-TEI document encoding and using CIDOC-CRM as Formal Ontology during the teaser sessions. I exchanged my experience with other participants and obtained suggestions by the experts on several tools to use for my projects.

Lastly, I want to note that presumably there is going to be another visit by me in ESU DH 2019 and I intend to present one of my projects in the next year.

Erdal Ayan, M.A.-M.Sc.

Academic Assistant, Herder Institute Marburg

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