Books Ngram Viewer (Google, of course)

Data visualization is becoming much more important in the areas traditionally thought not necessary. Infographics in journalism and in different fields of science has been explored for years and has become quite popular. Applications searching patterns in the fields of mathematics and logic are becoming increasingly popular. Infographics’ use in literature and the humanities still needs to be explored.

Google has recently brought to us another product from its Labs: Ngram Viewer.

After scanning all the books Google could access, OCR was used to create a big repository, one of the biggest multilingual repositories. It can be used to find patterns in language usage over years. With Infographics  the results are easy to understand.

Example of the usage of words telegraph, radio, telephone, television and internet in English books since 1900.

n-gram chart

n-gram chart

Graphical explanation of word usage in books and newspapers from the last century helps to understand the impact of how all these technologies were introduced to our life and how they have disappeared. Or, as we can see in this graph, the green line, the the telephone, going down in the second half of the last century to go up again (maybe because of mobile phones, maybe because of Lady Gaga).

offtopic: yes, I know… sweet valentine!

Original posted by Gerard Pagès i Camps on Monday, February 14, 2011 on #LibTechNotes a blog from the LibraryLabs at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya Library