I’m Constance Crompton,
I am an Assistant professor in Communication, in the Faculty of Arts, and a Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities. I also direct the Humanities Data lab.
In the Digital Humanities, we combine traditional Humanities research methods with computing,
in order to address questions that we couldn’t ask or answer using other methods.
The humanities have a history of tackling complex questions such as how to mitigate the effects of xenophobia or racism, or how to ensure a flourishing democracy.
The Digital Humanities brings humanities perspectives to the development of technology, artificial intelligence and media, as well as bringing digital tools to humanities questions.
For example, in the lab, we use graph databases to slice and recombine information to visualize historical change over time or do statistical analysis to see how ideas and social movements evolve. Using computers, we can see patterns in the data that we couldn’t see just by reading text.
Our most exciting work is in the creation of linked data, which is the foundation of a smarter semantic Web. As one node in the Guelph-based LINCS project, our lab is contributing to creating a national linked data triple store of humanities data.
The LINCS data is human readable and brings together humanities knowledge at scale.
It is also machine readable, which can give AI, search engines, and other applications the power of the humanities: a nuanced understanding of our past to better inform our future.