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Lenses for Lantern: Data Mining, Visualization, and Excavating Film History’s Neglected Sources
Abstract

Abstract:

The Media History Digital Library has digitized nearly one million pages of film and media publications, creating new opportunities for gathering evidence and new challenges for interpretation. In this essay, the author, who developed the Media History Digital Library’s search engine Lantern, analyzes data on the circulation of historic film periodicals and how frequently scholars have cited the same magazines. The author argues that the field of film studies has concentrated on a small number of canonical titles, such as Variety and Photoplay, and neglected the majority of publications. As an aid to interpreting the broader range of sources now digitally available, the author proposes integrating data visualization and topic modeling with the existing research methods of close reading, search, and archival research.



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