Thursday, April 3, 2014

Biblio bizarre: who publishes in Google Books

Here's a little irony I've been meaning to post. Large scale book digitization makes tools like Ngrams possible; but it also makes tools like Ngrams obsolete for the future. It changes what a "book" is in ways that makes the selection criteria for Ngrams—if it made it into print, it must have some significance—completely meaningless.

So as interesting as Google Ngrams is for all sorts of purposes, it seems it might always end right in 2008. (I could have sworn the 2012 update included through 2011 in some collections; but all seem to end in 2008 now.)

Lo: the Ngram chart of three major publishers, showing the percentage of times each is mentioned compared to all other words in the corpus: