How to cite this paper

Borovsky, Zoe, David J. Birnbaum, Lewis R. Lancaster and James A. Danowski. “The Graphic Visualization of XML Documents.” Presented at Balisage: The Markup Conference 2009, Montréal, Canada, August 11 - 14, 2009. In Proceedings of Balisage: The Markup Conference 2009. Balisage Series on Markup Technologies, vol. 3 (2009).

Balisage: The Markup Conference 2009
August 11 - 14, 2009

Balisage Paper: The Graphic Visualization of XML Documents

Zoe Borovsky

University of California, Los Angeles

Zoe Borovsky is a Digital Humanities Research Consultant and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Scandinavian Section at UCLA. She works on research projects that involve digital technologies along with the developers and designers at Academic Technology Services. She arrived at UCLA in 2002 and worked as Academic Services Manager at the Center for Digital Humanities. She has a PhD in Old Norse from UC Berkeley (1994) and worked as an Assistant Professor of Norwegian at the University of Oregon for five years (1994-99) where she helped establish the Wired Humanities Project.

David J. Birnbaum

University of Pittsburgh

David J. Birnbaum is Professor and Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been involved in the study of electronic text technology since the mid-1980s, has delivered presentations at a variety of electronic text technology conferences, and has served on the board of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the editorial board of Markup Languages: Theory and Practice, and the Text Encoding Initiative Council. Much of his electronic text work intersects with his research in medieval Slavic manuscript studies, but he also often writes about issues in the philosophy of markup.

Lewis R. Lancaster

University of California, Berkeley

James A. Danowski

University of Illinois at Chicago

James A. Danowski is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he teaches graduate research methods and communication technology courses. He was exposed to corpora including 10 years of marked up news documents as a participant in the 1993 DARPA/NIST TREC1 information retrieval competition. His main research activities test hypotheses about the overtime associations between document semantic networks, using his WORDij software, and social/organizational network structures.

Copyright © 2009 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


We propose to show how graphic visualizations of deeply encoded XML documents allow Humanities scholars to reap the rewards of their work. These visualizations become, in turn, objects that scholars can analyze and interpret. Beginning with a short overview outlining the history of development in visualization strategies of Humanities computing technologies, we present Birnbaum's Repertorium Workstation as an early attempt at graphic visualization of a large collection of XML encoded texts. Borovsky's work shows how graphs of encoded data can themselves become objects of analysis; she will present examples of visual queries and results. Lancaster's work envisions a visual query system using large graphs — a framework designed for exploring structurally complex Humanities data sets. Our work leads us to conclude that graphic visualization isn't just something one can do with XML data; it is often crucial to making the data usable in research.