Transversal Narratives and Human Rights Text Mining- New Trends in eHumanities

Ben Miller, Georgia State University


May 15, 2014. 15.00-17.00 at the eHumanities Group

Transversal Narratives and Human Rights Text Mining

Semi-automated tagging and extraction of the details corresponding to narratological fabula of person at place at time from a corpus of witness statements provides the decontextualized building blocks for identifying narratives that transverse a corpus. This presentation describes the language processing pipeline and framework for assembling those blocks into transversal narratives, and how this work connects to investigations into human rights violations.  Analytic visualizations of this data via Storygraph, the project’s tool, expand parallel-axes coordinate plots to show the movement of people through the spatiotemporal context of a corpus in a manner agnostic to the source document. This combined method for cross-document coreference allows for the emergence of narratives that go beyond the boundaries of one interview.  Using a test corpus of 511 World Trade Center Task Force Interviews with first responders, this technique reveals the stories of some who did not survive. Future work is looking at larger spatiotemporal frames, larger corpora, multi-lingual parallel pipelines, and automatic classification of more diverse and abstract violations ecologies.​


Dr. Ben Miller (Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Emory, 2009) works in critical cultural studies of computational and networked media around collective memory of traumatic events.  Currently assistant professor of English and Communication at Georgia State University where he co-directs the New and Emerging Media Initiative, Dr. Miller has held postdoctoral and faculty positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology, M.I.T., and the University of North Florida.

Ben is PI on a second round Digging into Data project, “Digging into Human Rights Violations,” that is exploring methods for stitching together narratives and entities from across the breadth of collections pertaining to mass violations of human rights. Among his other projects are a monograph on the history and future of collective, networked memory entitled _Collective Magnetic Witness_; a special issue of _Annals of Scholarship_ entitled “Reading the World of Big Data”; a biography of the inventor of video games, Ralph Baer, for the German Historical Institute; a platform to collect and visualize the acoustic ecology of urban environments; and ATLmaps (, a combined geospatial storytelling platform development and oral history project on the Atlanta metropolitan region and its emblematic planning challenges.



Miller unitStorygraph 2014 - New Trends in eHumanities



Storyline parallel-axis coordinate graph of seven military units deployed to Afghanistan