Day By Day

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Neat History Toy

Check out the Google "Books Ngram Viewer" [here]. It allows a search function for the frequency with which a word or phrase appears in books published from 1750 to 2008. You can trace the rise and fall of specific words, phrases or concepts over time. I, for instance, set it to trace the occurrence of the word "character". The use of the term peaked in the mid-nineteenth century and steadily declined thereafter, with intriguing upticks during WWII and after 2004. I wonder what that means [the phrase that starts every one of my research projects].

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