WhatEvery1Says (WE1S) began at UCSB in 2013-2017 as a prototype project focused on using text-analysis methods to study public discourse about the humanities (especially in journalism) at big data scales (prototype development site). It gathered about 36,000 articles from major U.S. newspapers and other journalistic sources dating from 1981 to 2014, and analyzed them using advanced machine-learning methods.
The Text Analysis Hackerspace is an experimental research group sponsored by WE1S in order to extend its previous work and to contribute generally to research and teaching at UCSB. The Hackerspace group performs experiments in text analysis methods, as well as introduces text analysis to other students and faculty, at both basic and advanced levels. So-called “distant reading” computational approaches to text are increasingly important across a range of humanistic and social-science disciplines, and the Hackerspace puts UCSB on the leading-edge of research and pedagogy.