The process of data collection was not difficult for me. However, it was a very tedious process because of the repetition. The most difficult part was trying to find the right information for each individual author for the metadata section. Some other challenges researchers have to consider when collecting data is making sure that the data you are collecting is for the public domain. Jockers best explains this problem by saying, “Today’s digital-minded literary scholar is shackled in time; we are all, or are all soon to become, nineteenth century-ists. We are all slaves to the public domain” (173). In other words, researchers have to be able to decipher what is useable and what is not useable.
In my opinion, literary data is data collected from different texts. Jockers explains the process of collecting literary data by saying, “I suggested that our primary tool of excavation, close reading, is no longer satisfactory as a solitary method of literary inquiry. I argue throughout these chapters that large-scale text analysis, text mining, “macroanalysis,” offers an important and necessary way of contextualizing our study of individual works of literature” ( 171). Therefore, the process of collecting literary data is important for college students to learns because the world is turning digital, and we have to be able to keep up with that digital world. During this process of collecting literary data, I discovered what literary data is. I believe that literary data is composed of the important metadata of the text. It gives you the background information on the text and its author, which is important when composing textual evidence.
I also learned that finding metadata is rather interesting. It gives you a bigger insight on the text you are transcribing and deeper understanding of the text and its author. Although it is a tedious task, it provides you with valuable information needed to give you textual evidence while collecting data for the text to use in a paper or for research. Literary data is also another form of close reading as Jockers was explaining earlier. It allows you to study more texts and study the background information on each text. Jockers comes to say, “We cannot study literary history from within the arbitrary constraints of “snippet view.” Access to a few random lines from a few random pages is tempting pabulum but not a meal” (173). In other words, closely reading a few lines out of a book is good for certain research purposes but being able to pull background information on the text and its author is even better. This allows researchers to not only read closely, but to be able to connect what they read to the background information they discovered as well. This brings another dynamic into the reading and brings a strong and more compelling argument into the mix. Therefore, I believe that literary data will be the future of close reading for scholars. We need to consider focusing in on literary data in the future because we, as a society, are transitioning into the digital world. And soon, we will all need to adjust to the new digital age.