DIMACS Monitoring Message Streams Seminar Series

Title: Who Was the Author? Using Statistics to Analyze Literary Style

Speaker: David Holmes, The College of New Jersey

Date: April 9, 2004 2:30pm

Location: DIMACS Center, CoRE Bldg, Room 433, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


The origins of stylometry - the statistical analysis of literary style - date back to 1851 when the English logician Augustus de Morgan suggested in a letter to a friend that questions of authorship might be settled by determining if one text "does not deal in longer words" than another. Since then researchers have been attempting to solve problems of disputed authorship using statistical techniques.

The growth of computer power and the ready availability of machine-readable versions of literary works have led to almost every conceivable measure being studied for its usefulness in authorship attribution. This talk will provide an historical review of the topic along with specific case studies, which will assess the value of the various techniques and chart the evolution of stylometry in humanities scholarship.

See Webpage: http://www.stat.rutgers.edu/~madigan/mms/spring04.html