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Saturday, February 21, 2015

NGrams, Data and Patterns in Human Culture

A data lens to human culture.  As yet unread, but of interest.  Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture  Hardcover – December 26, 2013 by Erez Aiden  (Author), Jean-Baptiste Michel (Author)  See also here.

" ... Between 2007 and 2010, graduate students Erez Aiden, Jean-Baptiste Michel and Yuan Shen developed a tool for analyzing Google’s digitized books. Known as the N-gram viewer, their tool essentially just counted the number of times a word or phrase appeared in all the digitized publications for a given year.  ....

Aiden and Michel have written about their N-gram viewer and how they came to develop it in a book: Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture (2013). The book gives lots of interesting example of how N-grams might be used to track fame, understand nationalism, explore the birth and death of words and concepts, and follow the influence of inventions. Aiden and Michel see their tool as part of a big data revolution that will transform the way we understand human culture in general and history in particular. “Big data,” they argue, “is going to change the humanities, transform the social sciences, and renegotiate the relationship between the world of commerce and the ivory tower” (p. 8). ......   "

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