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March 27: Patricia Fumerton, “Visualizing English Broadside Ballads:

Posted by on Monday, February 25, 2019 in Events, News.

From Arch-V Image Matching to Data Mining Illustrated,”

Wednesday, March 27, 4:10 pm, Center for Digital Humanities (344 Buttrick)

Patricia Fumerton, “Visualizing English Broadside Ballads: From Arch-V Image Matching to Data Mining Illustrated”

Founding the English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA) in 2003 and subsequently directing it, Patricia Fumerton’s mission has been to archive online as multimedia artifacts all extant English broadside ballads printed pre-1701 (estimated at just under 12,000). The late-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries marked the “heyday” of the printed ballad in England; during this period, all three of the ballad’s media (text, song title, and illustrations) were prominently printed on one side of large sheets of paper and called equally for attention. With now over 9,500 and more than 3/4s of all extant broadside ballads from this period archived, Fumerton and her EBBA team have turned not only to completing the archive but also to inventing tools to allow for more critical analysis of the accumulated data. Long in the making but particularly innovative has been the development of Arch-V, a learning machine tool that matches all sister woodcut impressions among the approximately 30,000 images in the archive. At the same time, EBBA has drawn on an array of visualization tools to body forth and make more accessible textual analysis. Both digital tools open up new routes of exploration for relatively new field of broadside ballads and of popular culture generally.

Patricia Fumerton is Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Director of UCSB’s English Broadside Ballad Archive (EBBA),, dedicated to mounting online citations, facsimiles, transcriptions, and recordings of all extant ballads printed pre-1701. In addition to working for 15 years on EBBA, Fumerton has edited or co-edited seven collections of essays on early modern broadside ballads and popular culture. She is also the author of the monographs Moving Media, Tactical Publics: The English Broadside Ballad in Early Modern England (forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Unsettled: The Culture of Mobility and the Working Poor in Early Modern England (Chicago, 2006) and Cultural Aesthetics: Renaissance Literature and the Practice of Social Ornament (Chicago, 1991).