The Witches in Early Modern England project has begun to imagine new ways of seeing patterns which emerge across witch texts.  A number of statistical visulizations, including a Bubble Map, a Stack Graph, and Pie Charts are available in the menu to the left of the page.

As we continue to build the WEME database, we are simultaneously beginning to bring large scale data mining and data visualization techniques to the WEME project with Kirsten C. Uszkalo's new experimental interface, called Reading Leaves. Early experiments demonstrate a vast universe of associations which might not otherwise be seen in traditional close reading.

Where Throwing Bones uses the Reading Leaves, is based on reading patterns across the corpus. The name, which comes from the art of Tassomancy, or tea cup reading, is meant to conjure the idea of seeing how ideas connect over time (in one’s tea cup, a reader might discern what a client is like, what is happening in their lives now, and what will happen). It is a visual metaphor of the branching off of ideas, the organic growth of the concepts of what a witch is, how a familiar functioned, and what the devil “did” to women to make them into witches. ??This new visualization tool is being built in HTML 5 and uses a combination of forced directed algorithm and random positioning. Most critically, it is being hooked up to the WEME database, filters, and timeline to allow viewers to experiment with informational perspectives. It is only compatible with Firefox, Chrome, and I.E. 9.

Reading Leaves is an argument in content, form, and function about the insidiousness of the patterns which connect people and event, across time and space.


All site content copyright © Uszkalo except where noted. Images courtesy of the Wellcome Collection.