In this article, the authors apply two interrelated methods of distant reading, Scaled Entity Search (SES) and query comparison, to early cinema history. By querying the thirty-five thousand filmographic records of Einar Lauritzen and Gunnar Lundquist's American Film-Index, which were digitized by Paul C. Spehr and Susan Dalton in the 1990s, through the 2 million pages of the Media History Digital Library, the authors quantitatively measured the “top trending” credited personnel in the film trade press and fan magazines during the period 1908–20. The authors attend to the historiographical limitations of these corpora and methods before presenting the top trending personnel, directors, cinematographers, and scenarists revealed by this approach and conclude that quantitative and computational methods based on large-scale data sets offer a significant avenue for research on the history of early cinema.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts