ATNU Virtual Speaker Series - Dombrowski, Ge, Nomura, and Sherman - 2022-11-09

Our next speakers in the ATNU Virtual Speaker Series are Quinn Dombrowski, Nichole Nomura, Alex Sherman, and Karen Ge who will talk to us about computational Analysis of Youth Fiction with the Young Readers Database of Literature.

Join us on Wednesday 9 November 2022 via Zoom at 5pm UK time (GMT). (We will send the zoom link to all registered attendees shortly before the event.) 

A recording of this talk is available for link please ask:


"Computational Analysis of Youth Fiction with the Young Readers Database of Literature"

Quinn Dombrowski and Nichole Nomura, Karen Ge, Alex Sherman (Stanford University)

Wednesday 9 November 2022
5pm (GMT) [Check Your Timezone]


From detective fiction, to fan fiction, to 21st century bestsellers, the range of Anglophone corpora under consideration by scholars who use computational text analysis methods have expanded dramatically from the easily-accessible materials in the public domain. Nonetheless, youth literature has continued to be largely overlooked by digital humanities scholars. Literature for young readers is already of interdisciplinary interest, drawing in scholars from such disparate fields as childhood studies, education, and media studies. Youth literature has also become a political lightning rod, with censorship and book banning on the rise throughout the United States. However, the only commercially available data sets of youth literature only include materials through the beginning of the 20th century, omitting the works that have played a significant role in shaping the worldview of today's adults.

In this talk, we will describe the creation and organizing principles underpinning the Young Readers Database of Literature (YRDL), a collection of over 30,000 books of youth literature, mostly published in the late 20th and early 21st century. We'll discuss why we constructed this project as a database, rather than a corpus, and how we envision its use for future research projects. We will also present a number of case studies that illustrate the potential for a project like YRDL to illuminate trends in youth literature that are usually handled only anecdotally, or through the analysis of award-winning books, which are poorly representative of the publishing landscape as a whole. These case studies will include the depiction of explicit East and South Asian identities (as part of the rise of more diverse representation in youth literature), agency in teenage relationships, the use of risqué language, and the portrayal of math mindsets.


Quinn Dombrowski is digital humanities staff in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and in the Library, at Stanford University. Karen Ge is an undergraduate at Stanford majoring in Symbolic Systems. Nichole Nomura and Alex Sherman are graduate students in English at Stanford. All are members of the Stanford Literary Lab.


Last modified: Wed, 21 Dec 2022 21:19:24 GMT