Text Analysis Provides New Insights into the Writings of Tony Hillerman

UNM Libraries Digital Initiatives and Information Technologies departments are collaborating on a project that lets students and researchers perform computational analysis on the manuscripts of Rudolfo Anaya and Tony Hillerman. This type of research method is called Text Analysis, and it is used by Digital Humanists and Social scientists to examine patterns of communication in a replicable and systematic manner.

Over the last year, graduate fellow Daejin Kim and staff member Amy Winter at the Libraries Digital Initiatives department have been preparing digital copies of manuscripts by Rudolfo Anaya and Tony Hillerman so they can be used for Text Analysis research. Each manuscript is scanned and turned into a text document. The documents are then encoded in an XML format called TEI before they are uploaded to a Text Analysis server. To date, manuscripts for the novels Tortuga and Heart of Aztlan by Rudolfo Anaya, and The Blessing Way, Fly on the Wall and Dancehall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman have been fully prepared for Text Analysis research. Additional manuscripts will be added to the server in late 2018.

Patrick Schierstein of the Libraries IT department implemented a system called Voyant Tools for this project, a web-based text reading and analysis environment that was developed by Stéfan Sinclair of McGill University and Geoffrey Rockwell of the University of Alberta. Professor Sinclair also graciously volunteered his time on the project to make sure that UNM received the latest updates to the Voyant server code.

The Voyant Tools server and the five encoded manuscripts are available for public use on the Libraries http://libvoyant.unm.edu website.