The Data-Sitter’s Club or Computational Text Analysis 101


April 19, 2023

Quinn Dombrowski, Academic Technology Specialist in the Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages at Stanford University (HathiTrust member since 2010), founded the Data-Sitter’s Club (DSC)with a group of fellow scholars in 2019. The DSC is an energetic and refreshing resource introducing computational analysis concepts to new and experienced digital scholars. In a recent conversation on the heels of their latest title, “The Data-Sitter’s HathiTrust Mistake,” Quinn described the project.

“Many people of a certain age grew up with the Babysitter’s Club books, either reading them, or maybe having a sister or classmate who read them. The corpus is really accessible in a way that the 19th-century literature in the public domain that is often the basis for tutorials are not. Maybe you read Moby Dick in high school, but it doesn’t have that immediate resonance of “Oh, this is a thing that I grew up with and really loved as a kid.”

“The idea is that we take this collection of books and use it as a basis to explore different computational methods. We use different tools and write different kinds of code, and we see how it works step-by-step, explaining everything along the way. Not only the code, but the joys and frustrations of doing this kind of work.”

In the recent DSC #18 title, the Data-Sitters head to metaphorical “New York City” by delving into learning the ins-and-outs of the HathiTrust’s Research Center’s advanced Data Capsule tool. Explore the entire collection of Data-Sitter’s Club titles or get started with HTRC’s text and data-mining tools. (And if you enjoy the Data-Sitter’s Club, join its other fans and vote for it for  “Best DH Training Material” in the 2022 Digital Humanities award starting in early February!)