Meeting Schedule

Next meeting: Topic Modeling

Tuesday, May 12, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Scholarly Innovation Lab (the glassed-in area), Young Research Library Research Commons

Please join the Digital Humanities Working Group for an informal discussion of topic modeling, featuring presentations of work in progress by two UCLA graduate students. Questions, feedback, and sharing your own work are all welcome! We’re happy to help you get started on topic-modeling work of your own.

What is topic modeling?

Topic modeling is a method for finding and tracing clusters of words (called “topics” in shorthand) in large bodies of texts. Topic modeling has achieved some popularity with digital humanities scholars, partly because it offers some meaningful improvements to simple word-frequency counts, and partly because of the arrival of some relatively easy-to-use tools for topic modeling.


Richard Cho is a graduate student in UCLA’s Department of Information Studies. His project probes a corpus of movie reviews written by Roger Ebert, the most prolific and well-known movie critic in American history, using topic modeling to ascertain what characteristics (or topics) he favored (or disapproved) when he gave starred ratings.

Allison Hegel is a graduate student in UCLA’s English Department. Her project examines a corpus of over 200 texts, using topic modeling to spot similarities and differences between the language of texts set in San Francisco compared to those set in Los Angeles.

Please feel free to come for the whole event or just part of it. Light refreshments provided.