New Google Books tool traces use of words over time
Google Books isn’t just an e-book store. It’s a pile of data, waiting to be mined. And while the metadata on many of the books in Google’s database may not be in the best of shape, enough books have good metadata that they can be used for some fairly interesting projects.
Ars Technica has the story on one of these. A group of Harvard researchers created a tool that could be used to trace the usage of words or phrases in books over the last few centuries. And what’s more, Google has made the tool publicly available via a web interface.
Links in the article.
I just tested out 'flying saucer' from 1800 to 2010 and got a line that crawled along the x axis until circa 1941 and then peaked c. 1955 and 2000 with a strange little bump in the eighteen teens, possibly one of the meta data errors mentioned but maybe ....