December 22, 2010

The invention of a new science - culturomics

Whatever the rights or wrongs of this new field, I couldn’t resist trying it out with a few key words from my research.  The graphs produced were interesting (though, I must confess, also predictable) in that they gave me ideas for further research and which new questions I need to answer.

Read The Chronicle article which gives the complete background to the launch.
If you ever get fed up, you could while away half an hour trying out your own words at Google Labs

My verdict?  If you know your subject well, then this new tool isn't going to give you any new earth-shattering revelations.  And counting words taken out of context is a futile exercise.  Okay, the word 'telephone' appears around the 1870s and peaks in the 1920s, but I could have told you that anyway without any help from Google Labs.  Who used this word, where he wrote it and why, is something I have to find out for myself.

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Digital Telephone Book by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.