TEI 2017 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada November 11 - 15

XML Tues Nov 14, 11:00–12:30

Life (!) on Stage: Building an interface for the network analysis of TEI-encoded drama corpora (paper)

Frank Fischer* Frank Fischer is Ass. Prof. for Digital Humanities at the the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and co-director of DARIAH-EU., Mathias Göbel* Mathias Göbel is a Specialist for digital editions at Göttingen State and University Library., Carsten Milling* Carsten Milling is a Historian and developer in Berlin., Tatiana Orlova* Tatiana Orlova is a Bachelor student in the School of Linguistics at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow., German Palchikov* German Palchikov is a Master student in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow., Irina Pavlova* Irina Pavlova is a Master student in Computational Linguistics at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow., Ivan Pozdniakov* Ivan Pozdniakov is a Research assistant at the the Centre for Cognition & Decision Making at Higher School of Economics, Moscow., Daniil Skorinkin* Daniil Skorinkin is a PhD student in Computational Linguistics at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow., and Peer Trilcke* Peer Trilcke is Ass. Prof. for Modern German Literature at the University of Potsdam and director of the Theodor Fontane Archive in Potsdam.

1The interest in social networks extracted from literary texts dates back to, at least, the 1990s (Schweizer and Schnegg 1998). Starting with Franco Moretti’s exploratory network analysis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the interest is especially focusing on character networks in dramatic texts (Moretti 2011). At the same time, we have seen the emergence of larger corpora for English (http://shakespearehiscontemporaries.northwestern.edu), French (http://theatre-classique.fr), German (http://dlina.github.io) and Swedish drama (http://dramawebben.se), all encoded in TEI.
2In our talk we will describe the building of a Russian drama corpus (RusDraCor), along with an aggregated German drama corpus (GerDraCor), both spanning roughly 200 years from the 1730s to the 1930s. They will be presented via a shared eXistdb-driven interface with the aid of respective JavaScript libraries, allowing for the direct visualisation and analysis of inherent structures of the character networks.
3Since the “dramatis personae,” the list of persons usually given at the beginning of a play, is often incomplete (and sometimes non-existent), transforming them into a <castList> will not convey a complete picture of what we might call the social “life on stage.” To address this shortcoming, we generate a list of occurring characters in the <particDesc> section of the TEI header (leaving the original texts untouched). Assigning IDs to every character, including incognito side characters (the likes of “A voice”) and persons appearing in groups (“All”), is based on the automatic assignation of IDs, which in some cases is ambiguous. For data correction, we use an innovative gamification approach (Göbel and Meiners 2016).
4Our network-related findings will allow us to study the structural evolution of drama (Trilcke et al. 2015, Fischer et al. 2017) and convey a much more complete picture of the social tectonics in dramatic texts, especially by involving hitherto neglected side characters and person groups.


  • Fischer, Frank, Mathias Göbel, Dario Kampkaspar, Christopher Kittel, and Peer Trilcke. 2017. “Network Dynamics, Plot Analysis Approaching the Progressive Structuration of Literary Texts.” Proceedings of DH2017. Montréal.
  • Göbel, Mathias, and Hanna-Lena, Meiners. 2016. “Play(s): Crowdbasierte Anreicherung eines literarischen Volltext-Korpus.” Proceedings of DHd2017, 140–43. Bern/CH.
  • Moretti, Franco. 2011. “Network Theory, Plot Analysis.” New Left Review, 68, 80–102.
  • Schweizer, Thomas, and Michael Schnegg. 1998. “Die soziale Struktur der ‘Simple Storys.’” Eine Netzwerkanalyse. https://www.ethnologie.uni-hamburg.de/pdfs-de/michael-schnegg/simple-stories-publikation-michael-schnegg.pdf. Accessed 15 May 2017
  • Trilcke, Peer, Frank Fischer, Mathias Göbel, and Dario Kampkaspar. 2015. “200 Years of Literary Network Data.” (Blogpost). https://dlina.github.io/200-Years-of-Literary-Network-Data/. (Accessed 15 May 2017).