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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Literary Allusion and Google

In Roughtype, a good piece on literary allusion and the effect of things like Google Search on communicating.  We live in a world where fewer and fewer of the classics are read.  Yet that is OK because we we can search for any phrase we want to understand the allusion being presented.  Or is it?

I tested a system for use inside the enterprise which would automatically search for phrases in a document that your were writing or reading.  In theory, this would alert you to other work, inside the company or being done on a similar subject.  It was suggested that this would make you more efficient, even create a network of research and researchers. It did not work well.  Words had to match,  different people used different terms,  It only worked well if you you used keywords that had been well established.  It helps to understand the classic background.  You can't do it all with search.

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