5: Metadata Analysis
An analysis of metadata (assuming that metadata is accurate) can often shed light on spatial or temporal patterns of humanistic sources. Literary scholar Matthew Jockers has examined publishing patterns of Irish-American authors during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Jockers found that the western region of the United States experienced a far greater output of writing by Irish-Americans, per capita, than eastern regions of the country. The writing of these western Irish-Americans also tended to describe the immigrant experience in more positive terms than their eastern peers. In the realm of history, Stanford’s “Mapping the Republic of Letters” project, meanwhile, uses metadata (a letter’s date, author, recipient, point of origin, point of reception) to create spatial analysis of intellectual correspondence networks.