This blog has been quiet for a few months because Digital Dostoevsky slowed down in the fall while Katia Bowers and I were busy organizing an international outreach program marking the Dostoevsky bicentenary, which was supported through a SSHRC Connection Grant and co-sponsored by the North American Dostoevsky Society (NADS). The all-virtual program included two roundtables, a graduate research forum, a birthday party and an ongoing blog series, Global Dostoevskys, on the NADS blog, Bloggers Karamazov, as well as an ongoing effort to bring the international, multi-lingual Dostoevsky bibliography into digital form to be housed permanently as a research portal on the International Dostoevsky Society/NADS website. Recordings of most of the events in the series are available on our YouTube Channel. At the same time, we also organized several co-sponsored talks in our Dostoevsky bicentennial lecture series and gave several of our own bicentennial talks. All this activity has meant some time away from our Digital Dostoevsky project, though work has continued behind the scenes on two different projects on The Double, one on naming and the other on liminality.
We do have some project news. In the last few months, our project was accepted by the University of Toronto Scholars-in-Residence program, which means we will be able to train and support undergraduate research assistants in May for the project’s next stage. The next phase will involve XML-TEI tagging the next texts in our corpus for speech. This will allow us to bring some of what we have learned in the last couple of years to undergraduate researchers, develop our DH pedagogy, and engage in more discussions of Digital Humanities approaches more generally and our project in particular with each other and with our new RAs. We’re also working on automating more of our initial tagging so that we don’t have to manually tag for paragraphs and speech.
Last year our project was included in the Princeton-based NEH Institute New Languages for NLP. This means we have been learning about Natural Language Processing over the last year and also annotating our corpus. In January Katia and I attended the second Institute workshop and we have been working on creating and training an NLP model for Dostoevsky’s Russian that can predict named entities.
We’re also in discussion with Slavic DH colleagues about a plan to introduce our project to the Slavic Studies field more broadly in the fall. Stay tuned for more news about this as well as news of the two different smaller projects we’re working on using our TEI-tagged text of Dostoevsky’s The Double.
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