As search has become a key tool in how we conduct research, this chapter introduces Scaled Entity Search (SES), an alternative method to traditional keyword searching, and Arclight, a software platform for applying SES to media history sources (search.projectarclight.org/). In exploring how search works as a method, we highlight the potential strengths and limitations SES and Arclight can bring to historical research. SES enables users to perform searches for multiple entities simultaneously across a large body of documents, as well as a critical framework for interpreting their search results. With Arclight, users can employ the SES method, which allows them to visualize and examine how entities trend across the Media History Digital Library’s 2 million-page corpus. Using the popular Japanese American silent film actors, Sessue Hayakawa and Tsuru Aoki, as examples, we demonstrate how SES and Arclight can be productively applied to new historical questions and confirm and enrich existing historical scholarship.
Hoyt, E., Tran, T., Long, D., Hughes, K., & Ponto, K. (2018). Searching, Mining, and Interpreting Media History’s Big Data. In J. Sayers (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (pp. 413-422). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315730479-43