Visualizing the Humanist list

A visualization of the 27-year-old, 12-million-word “Humanist” listserv, an email discussion group started by Willard McCarty at the University of Toronto in 1987. Using a modified version of Textplot designed to capture high-level changes in word usage in large corpora over time, I was able to generate a horizontal network layout that teases out a kind of visual intellectual history of the list, a high-level semantic shift between 1987 (mainframe, microcomputer, vax, modem, bitnet, diskette, telnet, hypercard) and 2014 (twitter, facebook, gmail, ipad, wordpress, blogspot, digitalhumanities).

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