Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Culturomics and the Google Ngram Viewer

In case you've missed it, I highly recommend exploring the Google Ngram Viewer, which allows for basic analysis of 5.2 million books catalogued by Google. The Ngram Viewer is an exemplar tool for what the authors call "cultromics" or the "the application of high-throughput data collection and analysis to the study of human culture." For example, the Ngram Viewer is useful for examining over-time changes in concepts used by scholars and others. For anyone doubting the decline of the concept of "social class" in the realm of ideas (but of course not in reality), here is a compelling chart (the most reliability data are from 1800 to 2000):
You can also download the entire data set yourself, but beware: the data set is (ahem) large.