Visual Analytics for Narrative Text

The study of novels and the analysis of their plot, characters and other entities are time-consuming and complex tasks in literary science. The digitization of literature and the proliferation of electronic books provide new opportunities to support these tasks with visual abstractions. Methods from the fields of computational linguistics can be used to automatically extract entities and their relations from digitized novels, which can then be visualized to ease exploration and analysis tasks.

ViTA is a web-based system developed at the University of Stuttgart that combines automatic analysis methods and effective visualization techniques. Different views on the extracted entities are provided and relations between them across the plot are indicated. All views enable literary scholars to jump to the corresponding passage in the novel and work directly with the text. Therefore, the approach facilitates distant reading and can provide a good starting point for new ideas, hypotheses and further analyses.

Demo Video

Web Demo

A public demo of the web-based system is available at:

Source Code

The source code is available on GitHub.

Related Publication

John, M., Lohmann, S., Koch, S., W├Ârner, M., Ertl, T. Visual Analytics for Narrative Text - Visualizing Characters and their Relationships as Extracted from Novels. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Information Visualization Theory and Applications (IVAPP '16), pages 27-38. SciTePress, 2016. [BibTex]