Interesting tutorials @Programming Historian

Following the posts of the past few weeks, today we present an interesting website – and peer-reviewed journal – on the same wake.

That is Programming Historian, a useful, multilingual and open access collection of tutorials about computational tecniques for humanities. Almost one hundred guides, ranging from the most simple and introductory to advanced topics such as text mining, big data and network analysis. Definitely worth a look!

Posted in Digital Humanities, Distant Reading, History of ideas, Methodology, Quantitative methods, Text mining, Text-Mining, Tutorials | Tagged | Leave a comment

Science mapping – an in depth review

A new entry of the Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization (IEKO) has been published. This contribution – by Eugenio Petrovich – is an in depth review of Science Mapping. It is also a must-read for anyone who wants to approach the core concepts of bibliometrics without reference to the formal machinery.

The entry is publicly available here.

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Building a flow map from scrap

By Emiliano Tolusso

Maps are a pleasant and handy way of visualizing spatial data. Choropleths especially are widely employed in the visual description of spatial phenomena. However, as much as traditional maps are a popular solution, they suffer from a fundamental, insurmountable flaw: they conceived as ways to represent static objects, well-contained into some arbitrary border. How can we trace on a map something that is actually in motion across these borders?

Flow maps are a versatile hybrid between a traditional map and a flowchart. As such, flow maps are a well-fitted solution to display the motion of different objects in space in an orderly fashion.

Flow maps, as a matter of fact, are directed, georeferenced networks! They can virtually represent the motion of every kind of object on a plan surface: migrations, trade routes, money transfer. Getting more creative, and more on point with our focus on distant reading, flows may represent citations among geographically recognizable institutions retrieved from a set of papers. All you need is a couple of coordinates (X, Y; Long, Lat), and any flow can be effectively charted. is a useful resource to quickly build a flow map from scrap. It offers many advantages:

  1. You don’t need to write a single line of code or to open a GIS system.
  2. It is based on Google sheets.
  3. The maps are pretty cool!

Let’s see how it works.

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Practices and Malpractices. What the Analysis of Retractions can Tell us about the Research Ethos of the Humanities

By Eugenio Petrovich

In the last decades, the number of retractions of scientific articles has significantly grown in all disciplines (Steen et al., 2013). Even prestigious journals such as Science are not immune to such growth (Wray & Andersen, 2018). The spread of the phenomenon, as well as its accelerating pace, gives rise to concern in the scientific community, as a rising proportion of retractions are due to the manipulation of data, the use of fabricated or fraudulent data, plagiarism, and other types of research misconduct (Fang et al., 2012). Some striking cases have even reached the large public, such as the infamous article by Jeremy Wakefield about a connection between vaccines and autism, that was published in The Lancet in 1998 and retracted only twelve years later. Such cases are particularly troublesome since they risk to mine seriously the trust of society in science.

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DR2-INTERVIEWS: Interview with Peter De Bolla

With this interview we open the series of the “DR2-Interviews”, a new section of this blog dedicated to questions and answers about the use of quantitative methods.

A few months ago one of our members, Paolo Babbiotti, was in Cambridge as a Visiting Student and interviewed Peter De Bolla, Professor of Cultural History and Aesthetics and Director of the Cambridge Concept Lab:

Here you can read the entire interview and we thank Professor De Bolla for the answers to our questions.

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Posted in Data-Driven Research, Digital Humanities, DR2, History of ideas, Interviews, Methodology, Quantitative methods | Leave a comment

SSHAP 2020 at Vienna postponed

One month ago we announced that the papers presented by DR2 members Eugenio Petrovich, Guido Bonino and Paolo Tripodi have been accepted at the ninth annual conference of the Society for the Study of the History of Analytic philosophy.

The meeting is now postponed to July 2021.

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Betti’s course moves online

As earlier announced on this blog, Prof. Arianna Betti (University of Amsterdam) is going to teach a History of Ideas course at the University of Turin during the second semester of the Academic Year 2019/2020 (starting at the end of April).

Due to the current restrictions on face-to-face academic activities, the course moves online (using Webex).

More information on this blog as soon as possible.

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Drawing maps with R. A basic tutorial

By Eugenio Petrovich

Maps are a powerful tool to visualize information. Plotting data on a map can reveal trends and patterns that are difficult to spot by inspecting a spreadsheet. Maps are also very useful to communicate information to the public in an appealing and interpretative way.

In this brief tutorial, we will learn how to generate simple geographic maps with R. In particular, we will learn how to produce the following map of the DR2 members in Europe:

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DR2 at the Vienna station

The papers presented by DR2 members Eugenio Petrovich, Guido Bonino and Paolo Tripodi have been accepted at the ninth annual conference of the Society for the Study of the History of Analytic philosophy, to be held in Vienna on July 1-3, 2020.

Below are the abstracts of the two contributions.

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Posted in Data-Driven Research, Distant Reading, DR2, History of analytic philosophy, Methodology, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Analytic philosophy and the later Wittgensteinian Tradition

Paolo Tripodi’s book Analytic Philosophy and the Later Wittgensteinian Tradition has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan in the History of Analytic Philosophy series edited by Mike Beaney.

Here is the cover:


And here the back cover:

This book aims to explain the decline of the later Wittgensteinian tradition in analytic philosophy during the second half of the twentieth century. Throughout the 1950s, Oxford was the center of analytic philosophy and Wittgenstein – the later Wittgenstein – the most influential contemporary thinker within that philosophical tradition. Wittgenstein’s methods and ideas were widely accepted, with everything seeming to point to the Wittgensteinian paradigm having a similar impact on the philosophical scenes of all English speaking countries. However, this was not to be the case. By the 1980s, albeit still important, Wittgenstein was considered as a somewhat marginal thinker. What occurred within the history of analytic philosophy to produce such a decline?

This book expertly traces the early reception of Wittgenstein in the United States, the shift in the humanities to a tradition rooted in the natural sciences, and the economic crisis of the mid-1970s, to reveal the factors that contributed to the eventual hostility towards the later Wittgensteinian tradition.


The book uses both traditional methods of the history of philosophy, such as conceptual and contextual analysis, and quantitative methods: for example, chapter 3 (“Carnapstein in America”) and chapter 5 (“Science, Philosophy, and the Mind”) provide and interpret data concerning the presence and role of Wittgenstein in the full-text of The Journal of Philosophy and The Philosophical Review from 1921 to 1970; chapter 7 (“Concluding Remarks. The Last Decades”) briefly discusses the results of Bonino and Tripodi’s just published article on “Academic Success in America: Analytic Philosophy and the Decline of Wittgenstein”, and it also presents and analyses some data included in the Web of Science citation indexes by applying co-citation tools (in particular, within the sub-corpus of the articles in which Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations are cited, co-citation analysis indicates the number of times in which other works are cited together with the Investigations during the period 1986–2015); chapter 2 (“The Core and the Periphery”) briefly discusses Franco Moretti‘s application of Wallerstein’s core-periphery model to literary history, and it also reflects on its possible applications to the history of philosophy.

Posted in Distant Reading, Franco Moretti, History of analytic philosophy, History of philosophy, Quantitative methods, Uncategorized, Wittgenstein | Leave a comment