Workshop: Computational Stylometry: An Introduction

The Hardiman Research Building G010 seminar room

Date & Time
24th April, 2014 @ 10:00:00

Computational Stylometry: An Introduction

Moore Institute, NUI Galway, 24 April 2014

This one-day workshop led by Dr Francesca Benatti (Open University) is a hands-on introduction to stylometric analysis using Stylo, a tool created for use in the statistical programming language R.

What is Computational Stylometry?
Computational stylometry (or stylistics) is the study of how the stylistic features of texts can be measured through computer-aided statistical methods.

How is it used?
Regularly used in the field of authorship attribution, Computational Stylometry has potential applications to a wide range of fields and disciplines that examine texts. In addition to authorship attribution, Computational Stylometry may be used to investigate relationships between texts in such areas as gender, genre, and chronology.

For example?
J. K. Rowling was recently exposed as the author of the pseudonymous novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, thanks to the Computational Stylometric work of Patrick Juola. A professor of computer science, Juola also runs a private consulting firm that applies stylometric techniques to disputed documents and in psychological profiling for the legal professions. Similar techniques have aided historical research by verifying the authenticity of letters written during the American Civil War, and sought to reveal how pronouns and other function words reveal personality traits and relationship roles.

What does the workshop involve?
It will include an introduction to the history and theory of stylometry, and will focus on the practical application of the Stylo package. Alongside examples of Stylo's use, participants will complete hands-on practical exercises with the tool. A set of sample texts will be supplied, but participants are free to bring their own texts in plain text or TEI XML format.

What is the schedule for the day?
10.00-10.30 Introduction to Stylometry
10.30-11.00 Installation of R and Stylo; settings and options
11.00-11.30 The stylo function; hands-on practice
11.30-12.00 Tea break
12.00-13.00 The oppose function; hands-on practice
13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-14.30 Case study: authorship attribution and the Christabel review
14.30-15.30 The classify function; hands-on practice
15.30-16.00 Open session: practice / discussion / Q and A

I am interested, but am not sure this is for me...
Computational stylometry can be either a means or an end. While is it used to identify authors and
verify documents, it can also be employed for more exploratory purposes: for identifying patterns
and sequences within a text or group of texts. If your work involves analysing texts, this workshop
may be useful to you.

Do I need to be a programmer to learn this?
No. This workshop is led by and aimed at scholars in the Arts and Humanities. Some experience with
computer-aided text-analysis will be a benefit, but nothing other than general digital literary is

Anything else I should know?
Attendance is free. Places are limited on this workshop, however, so you are advised to register your
interest as soon as possible. Attendees will be required to bring their own laptops: R and Stylo will
not work on mobile devices.

Ok, you've sold me. What do I do now?
Contact Justin Tonra ( to register your interest in participating. You
should mention any previous experience you have had with text-mining or text-analysis, and
describe how the workshop relates to your own work.