Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

December 16, 2010

Arise culturnomics!

Filed under: Culture,Culturnomics — Razib Khan @ 1:59 pm

First, read Ed Yong’s post. There’s real reporting in it. Such as:

There’s also an issue with attitudes among people in the field. “Biologists were already convinced that genes and genomic variation were key to understanding problems in their field,” he adds. “Social scientists and humanists do not now work with large digital text collections, and relatively few of them now believe that they should do so.”

Genomics did not mean that genetics disappeared. Broad surveys complement, they don’t substitute. You can read the paper for free at Science if you register, Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books:

We constructed a corpus of digitized texts containing about 4% of all books ever printed. Analysis of this corpus enables us to investigate cultural trends quantitatively. We survey the vast terrain of “culturomics”, focusing on linguistic and cultural phenomena that were reflected in the English language between 1800 and 2000. We show how this approach can provide insights about fields as diverse as lexicography, the evolution of grammar, collective memory, the adoption of technology, the pursuit of fame, censorship, and historical epidemiology. “Culturomics” extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena spanning the social sciences and the humanities.

You can get much of the data at the Culturnomics website. And, you can explore some of the data via a Google browser. Below are some comparisons/trends I found interesting:

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