User Story Creator Identification

This is optional. Provide if you are comfortable doing so.

Name: Susan Brown


Tell us something about your level of study and the type of institutional appointment you hold. 
Choose any of the terms below that apply to you:
* undergrad
* grad
* part-time instructor
* pre-tenure faculty member
* tenured faculty member
* archivist-librarian
* independent scholar
* creative practitioner
* interested citizen

Role: researcher

Institution: University of Alberta

Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: English; digital humanities


Please write a paragraph about your persona as a researcher: your position, your discipline, your general research interests, 
and the extent to which you use computers in your research. 
You may wish to mention particular tools that you use with some regularity.

I'm a literary scholar whose work has become increasingly imbricated with digital humanties methods. I have doctorate with a specialization in Victorian poetry, and have taught in the areas of feminist and literary theory, critical practices, Victorian literature, women's writing, and soon digital textuality. My literary research has almost been on some aspect or other of literary history, broadly defined, which I would define as the study of the relationship through time between literary production, dissemination, and reception and the conditions and events of the time.


Please provide a short description of the larger project from which this story emerges.

This story emerges from my involvement in CWRC and from my current research on developing tools for exploring social networks associated with literary history. Although I'm not a Canadianist, I tried to imagine a scenario in which someone might explore the kinds of questions I'm inerested in asking with such tools in relation to Canadian women's writing. One of the things I'm interested in is the question of how one can move away from author-centric literary historical inquiry and begin to get a sense of the kinds of impact that other entities have had.


I'd like to be able to trace networks of influence that affected Canadian writing. This would mean, for instance, being able to identify a group of people, such as the TISH poets (this could be either by identifying them by name, or performing a search or series of searches in which I gradually built up the group I wanted to visualize associations for) and see what writers were connected to them and how everyone was connected to each other. I'd like some way of slicing the visualization over time, for instance, to see what relationships persisted, or which were key at key periods for the journal. Or I'd like to be able to start with an organization, such as the Canada Council or the Women's Press, and see a network of associations radiating out from them. I want to be able to define what kinds of relationships are important to me. So for instance in the Women's Press one, I'd want to compare the professional relationships (books published by WP; worked for WP; assesssed mss for WP) with personal ones (friends, family, lovers; and in this case I might be really interested in relationships that were at one or two removes, as well as direct ones) or see what kinds of overlaps between them there were.

A possible sequence of steps for this would be:

  • search for Women's Press
  • see some kind of representation of what the overall system has on the Women's Press, e.g. bibliography of publications by them; some full text materials (though these might be only partially viewable or embargoed for copyright reasons); an overview essay on the Women's Press, along the lines of a Wikipedia entry; a couple of critical articles in scholarly journals; link to the Women's Press website [1]; timeline of items containing references to the Women's Press; and summary of other materials in ORCA referring to the Women's Press. Also offered would be tools, including: a tool for scraping materials on the Women's Press from the web into a virtual collection for my use; text analysis tools; visualization tools.
  • choose visualization tools
  • choose visualize social networks
  • see visualization, with different types of networks visualized
  • browse visualization results by looking at the data on which the visualization was based
  • decide that some types of networks (e.g. to other organizations as opposed to people) were not interesting to me
  • refine visualization by narrowing to just professional and personal relations of the WP to individuals (I might have to define what criteria go into those, or perhaps they would be potted categories)
  • browse those results, pulling up the specifics of the associations
  • refine the results further by removing some specific links from my results set
  • interrupting my work for a few days
  • going back to it after a few days and resuming where I left off
  • creating a series of visualizations by decades (1972-1981, 1982-1991, 1992-2001, and 2002+) showing the overlap between professional and personal relationships
  • save high-resolution versions of the visualizations to include in a paper I was writing
  • save my visualizations with an archive of the process that created them, tag them with appropriate keywords, and add them to the ORCA database so they could be used, revised, or taken further by other users

How broadly do the practices described in this story apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?
* broadly applicable
* shared by some
* shared by few or none

Scope: probably not very broadly applicable in the specifics, but the general idea of exploring networks might be of general interest

Does your story describe current research activities that you think CWRC will enhance (present), 
or future research possibilities that you can only dream of now? (future)

Timeline: different historical periods according to interest

Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories. 
Use as many of the ones listed below as relevant or provide your own.
* Aggregate
* Annotate
* Consider
* Discover
* Interact
* Publish
* Archive/Preserve
* Share
* Visualize
* Map
* Historicize
* Edit
* Network
* Collaborate
* Integrated History of Women's Writing in Canada
* Orlando

Keywords: social networks; visualize; historicize; network; interact

Are there parts of the story that relate to other CWRC stories? 
Please provide title(s) and link to the relevant story page.

Related Stories: Story:Mapping Theatrical Relationships

Are there tools that do some of the sorts of things you'd like to see in CWRC? 
If so, what are they?

Related Tools: Visual Complexity [2] Vizster [3] Best tools summary [4] Many eyes [5]