Introduction. The information behaviour of digital historians when analysing corpora of text is largely unexplored. However, understanding the motivations and the processes of research is essential when designing system support for text analysis. In a project in the area of research on historical educational media, we therefore conduct a contextual user study, exploring current processes of text analysis in five projects in the field. Representatives of the project analyse the results in participative workshops for requirements analysis.
Method. The study combines contextual interviews and a participative analysis of the results.
Analysis. Contextual interviews have been analysed regarding existing categories: retrieval and access, use of tools, process of analysis, and the contextualisation of sources. Participants analysed requirements for tool support in the project in a workshop setting.
Results. Users expect digital tools for automated analysis to provide quantitative overviews of contents early in the research process, but also to support existing, interpretative processes of analysis. For a more detailed quantitative analysis, means of comparison within and across several layers of context have to be provided. Based on the findings from the interviews and workshops, guidelines for the design of information systems for text analysis in digital history studies with large corpora are defined.
Conclusion. The process presented in this study can be applied to similar projects in the field of digital humanities. In addition, we propose guidelines that may be useful in similar contexts within the discipline.
Keywords. Digital Humanities, Digital History, User Centred Design, Interactive Text Analysis, Information Behaviour
Paper is published in Information Research 21(4): Combining contextual interviews and participative design to define requirements for text analysis of historical media