After downloading and reading this book, it left me in sort of a daze. Almost to the point that made me think, did I really understand the book, or the end of it for that matter. The beginning was very well written and informational. However, the later chapters seemed to focus on a great deal of material from British and Irish writers and included a lot of charts and graphs showing data about these writers. I felt very lost in the later chapters, and in the point that Jockers was actually trying to make. The following information provided is from the notes I took while reading the book.
The first parts of the book focused on DH and what makes up DH. On pages 10-12 the author says that it is “revolutionizing, a new way of thinking, and is a new way to read, access and understand the meaning of texts.” However, there is still no general idea to what DH actually defines. The digital age is becoming more popular with access to digital libraries and digitalization in general. This “invites a new type of evidence gathering.” (16)
Jockers introduced what he thinks is a better approach to DH. He calls it the macroanalytic approach, and it will help digital literary studies. With the growing DH programs now offered at the college level, more of these jobs are becoming more available. Many of the tools we use every day fall into the category of DH. Google search, Google books and Microsoft word are just a few of the things that have become available to us because of DH programs. On page 35 Jockers states that “macroanalysis would access details that have been forgotten, unavailable and ignored.” This is also an alternative method for accessing texts. More facts, information and data would be available. Overall this would provide a better understanding of textual information.
In the chapters that follow, Jockers talks about other types of ways to gather data, and information. He mentions metadata, and topic modeling. These ways only go so far though. The overall problem going back to the beginning of this post is that we just do not have the tools we need to access older works, such as early 19th and 20th century works. He states on page 182-183, that “only 2.3% of the books published in the U.S between 1927-1946 are still in print. 5/7 books scanned by Google are commercially available, and 75% of books in U.S. libraries are out of print. We need to find an approach that allows us to access these important pieces of work including historic documents.
Overall, it was an interesting book, and helped me better understand some elements of DH. I had mentioned in my DH project evaluation that I can see the importance of digitalizing primary sources, and other historic documents. Jockers mentioned many different authors including American, British and Irish. One of the problems that reoccurred in the book was that the same word has different meanings in other languages. In that case when we are transferring works into a digital format, or translating them we must be aware of what the word actually means, and what meaning the author wanted to use in the text. He might be onto something in the next step, or approach to better the DH field.