2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Steven Olsen-Smith and Dr. Elisa Barney Smith


People are fascinated by stories and what influences an author in their work. However, not every author leaves large volumes of notes and drafts for researchers to investigate. Moby-Dick author Herman Melville left very few surviving drafts compared to almost 300 books containing his marginalia. This project aims to create visualizations to assist researchers in discovering what ideas moved Melville the most in his readings of other authors. Three visualizations were created: The first plots the number of marginalia per chapter, the second plots the number of words marked per chapter, and the third plots the average number of words marked per page in each chapter. This project will continue to explore different types of visualization, such as a heat map of marginalia per book, to assist researchers in learning how Melville was influenced by writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Arthur Schopenhauer and how he interacted with the texts he read.



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