Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I know there have not been many updates this month, but it's only because I've been busy working on research for my dissertation and preparing a demo for a board-game I'm currently play-testing.  More on both in later posts.  

For now, I wanted to post this latest video from the Berkman Center, a recording of a lecture given on Culturomics: Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books.  A quote from the summary of the video I present below:
In this talk Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel — co-founders of the Cultural Observatory at Harvard and Visiting Faculty at Google — show how culturomics 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.
Reasoned and well thought out searches of large data depositories are increasingly making their impact in several fields- while Journalism grabs the most attention due to its increasing daily contact with such large fields of data, I am a firm believer that the Humanities (especially History, but all disciplines really) will find potent new means to both analyze the past and interpret it in ways not possible for earlier scholars, even those whose works rested on the results of early adoption of quantitative analysis in the 80's and 90's.  With both mass storage and cheap processing power, not to mention developments made on the granularization of tasks through online social platforms, researchers today can tackle far larger 'tracts' of data.  This is the spirit behind my essay on Digital Archives and History, and for that reason I find the presentation of Aiden and Michel to be fascinating and prescient as to the power and potential of what they term 'Culturomics'.

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