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Advancing Text Analysis Through Visualization

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The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) uses WestGrid and Compute Canada facilities to provide an open web-based environment to foster the use of digital tools and resources for literary studies in and about Canada. 

Spotlight On:

Susan Brown
University of Guelph
Department of English

Canada's literary heritage is at a critical juncture – materials are moving online, yet the management of information about Canadian cultural history still relies on tools derived from print models, which cannot accommodate the explosion of online materials. Literary studies must shift from the conventional model of solitary scholars working on small groups of texts, towards large-scale cross-disciplinary collaborative energies.

The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation to provide an open web-based environment to foster the use of digital tools and resources for literary studies in and about Canada. WestGrid and Compute Canada - Calcul Canada facilities provide an essential infrastructure backbone for this distributed project.

"The infrastructure will both facilitate digital literary research and provide a testbed for computational research ranging from text analysis and visualization to the design and use of social networking tools," says Susan Brown, CWRC Team Leader. "WestGrid and Compute Canada - Calcul Canada are providing essential support in hardware acquisition, hosting, and backup capacity."

The Collaboratory is being developed around active research projects and comprises two major elements, a database and a toolkit, linked through a web-based service-oriented architecture. "CWRC’s specialized interface connects scattered and siloed data, enabling researchers to investigate links between writers, texts, places, groups, policies, and events in a collaborative online environment," says Brown.

CWRC extends the work of the Orlando Project (http://www.ualberta.ca/orlando), a humanities computing research project that continues to publish new findings and serves as an experimental dataset. Contributing and pilot projects will contribute further data while CWRC’s technical infrastructure is in development and will provide feedback on interface and functionality.