Books’ Impact in Digital Social Reading: Towards a Conceptual and Methodological Framework

Federico Pianzola, Viviano Marco, Fossati Alessandro, P. Boot, Olivia Da Costa Fialho, Marijn Koolen, Julia Neugarten, Willem van Hage, Simone Rebora, J. Berenike Herrmann, Thomas C. Messerli, Annett Jorschick, Sharma Srishti

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeContribution to conference proceedingsScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The aim of this panel is to debate the challenges and
opportunities offered by online reviews for measuring the
impact that books can have on readers (Boot and Koolen,
2020). The focus is specifically on culture- and language-
specificity, thus we will compare insights from the analysis
of Korean, English, Italian, German, and Dutch reviews.
Digital social reading platforms – like Goodreads,
Lovelybooks, or Naver Books – host millions of reviews
and, thus, offer unique possibilities for research into
literature, reading, and reader response (Rebora et al.,
2021; Walsh and Antoniak, 2021). Computational tools
are especially relevant, given the large amount of available
data, but finding associations between textual features,
cultural conventions (e.g. genre), and cognitive, affective,
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Digital Humanities 2022
and aesthetic responses is not a straightforward task (Koolen
et al., 2020; Pianzola et al., 2020).
By comparing research done with different platforms,
datasets, and languages, we aim at improving the methods
that we employ, in a dialogue involving both data-driven
insight and theoretical reflection on literature and readers.
Questions that we will address are: what aspects of a book’s
impact on readers can reviews help us to measure? What
are the limitations of online book reviews for studying
impact? How do we know to what extent these review
texts reflect the actual reading experiences? What are
unwanted, confounding influences (e.g. reviewers projecting
a favourable self-image, socially desired responses,
aspects of identity formation, fake reviews). How do
online book reviews differ from experimentally controlled
gathering of reader responses (lab studies, questionnaires,
psychologically validated scales) (Lendvai et al., 2020)?
How do platforms for reviewing and social interactions
around books influence reviewers and their perceptions?
How do reviewers compare to other readers?
To answer such questions, we will present four case
studies dealing with different languages and cultures,
followed by an open discussion of the results and methods,
reflecting on their generalizability, efficacy and limitations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Humanities 2022. Conference abstracts
Subtitle of host publicationThe University of Tokyo, Japan. 25-29 July 2022
Place of PublicationTokyo (Japan)
Pages94-98
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Online Book Reviews

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