In the classic children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth, the Kingdom of Wisdom is divided by two rulers, the Mathemagician and King Azaz the Unabridged—in other words, numbers versus words.
Quite some time ago, computers and databases transformed the way we deal with numbers. It’s inconceivable that somebody would study physics or finance without mining millions of bits of data. On the arts and letters side of the Kingdom of Wisdom, though, scholarly research is still done by sifting through facts a few at a time, like the gleaners of wheat in old paintings.
Until recently. We now have the ability to run words through the threshing machine, thanks to a remarkable tool. We first reported on the Google Ngram database a couple of years ago in a “Techwise Conversation” with Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research. Since then, historians. linguists, sociologists, and psychologists have begun to see what riches the database can yield.
To read more, please open the following link : The Cultural Treasures in Google Ngram
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