Paper Machines

Today I learned about Paper Machines, a very useful plug-in for Zotero allowing the reader to do visualizations against their collection of citations.

Today Jeffrey Bain-Conkin pointed me towards a website called Lincoln Logarithms where sermons about Abraham Lincoln and slavery were analyzed. To do some of the analysis a Zotero plug-in called Paper Machines was used, and it works pretty well:

  1. make sure Zotero’s full text indexing feature is turned on
  2. download and install Paper Machines
  3. select one of your Zotero collections to be analyzed
  4. wait
  5. select any one of a number of visualizations to create

I am in the process of writing a book on linked data for archivists. I have am using Zotero to keep track the books citations, etc. I used Paper Machines to generate the following images:

word cloud
a word cloud where the words are weighted by a TF-IDF score

phrase net
a “phrase net” where the words are joined by the word “is”

topic model
a topic modeling map — illustration of automatically classified documents

From these visualizations I learned:

  • not much from the word cloud except what I already knew
  • the word “data” is connected to many different actions
  • I have few, if any, citations in my collection from the mid-2000’s

I have often thought collections of metadata (citations, MARC records, the output from JSTOR’s Data For Research service) could easily be evaluated and visualized. Paper Machines does just that. I wish I had done it. (To some extent, I have, but the work is fledgling and called JSTOR Tool.)

In any event, if you use Zotero, then I suggest you give Paper Machines a try.

Comments are closed.