Spotlight: the W4 & H of DH

The Who, What, Where, Why & How of DH


This project focuses on the work of Eric Hoyt, Kevin Ponto, and Carrie Roy, co-collaborators on the ScripThreads tool. Eric Hoyt is an Assistant Professor of Media and Cultural Studies in the Comm Arts Department at UW-Madison, and his research focuses on how the Digital Humanities and digital media affect the media industry. Kevin Ponto is an Assistant Professor of Design Studies (SOHE) and also works in the Living Environments Lab in the WID at UW-Madison. His research focuses on more of the digital side of the Digital Humanities: visualizing data, human-computer interaction, and virtual reality, among other areas of study. Carrie Roy is involved with Folklore Program, Material Culture Program and Medieval Studies Program at UW-Madison, and focuses on Nordic and Scandinavian culture, literature and art. She also has study areas in the Digital Humanities, and is the coordinator for the Humanities Research Bridge.


This project profiles the ScripThreads tool, both from the Digital perspective and the Human perspective of the Digital Humanities.


The ScripThreads tool, and many more innovative digital humanities projects are happening right here at UW-Madison. The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) has been an amazing supporter of the Digital Humanities, and the Humanities Research Bridge, coordinated by Carrie Roy has helped to organize, support, and spotlight ongoing and completed Digital Humanities projects on campus.


Why use digital tools to pick apart narratives? There are so many questions that we are unable to answer with the text alone, and with so many emerging digital tools that can be applied and altered to analyze narratives and text. These tools can bridge the gap between readers and the text through the use of distant reading, which is usually missed and looked over when participating in close reading. Especially in the ScripThreads tool, we are able to visually work through ideas and problems in the text, and actually interact with the data through rotating the graph, and changing the focus of the graph (relate different characters to each other), as well as changing colors and connecting it to genre, and social classes, age, gender, etc. Through use of digital tools, we are able to converge digital and humanities research to enhance research in both fields.


As explained in my profile of the Digital aspects of the ScripThreads tool, the data is gathered and formatted into an HTML file with a specific screenplay format. Data is filtered through the ScripThreads program through parsing and then through an algorithm displayed in the four different visualizations described in my profile of the project. Novels and other texts that are not already formatted into a screenplay and the HTML format can be formatted using text editing tools such as Text Wrangler.

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