11/12/12 Blog Post

This week’s readings and explorations left me with a bit of an information overload.  All of them demonstrate the capabilities of online technologies to group together various forms of information in massive amounts.  The Daniel Cohen article, “From Babel to Knowledge: Data Mining Large Digital Collections,” discusses the syllabus finder program, which retrieves documents that are relevant to a specific search.  This program allows for teachers, in particular, to find course materials for a specific subject, and as a result, build a syllabus for their course.  This program seems like it would be a very effective tool for instructors to use when designing their courses, especially more effective than just simple google searches would be.  I think the program truly demonstrates the advantages of living in a technological age, as it allows people to have access to thousands of documents, which may have been difficult to find otherwise.

Of the websites we had to explore, I was most interested with the Time magazine corpus. This program retrieved sections of old articles which contained information about, or were related to a search for a specific word or phrase.  It was pretty interesting to see which words have come up most often within Time articles.  Similar to this was the BYU Corpora, which allows users to find various texts which use certain words from a specific language.  This allows users to view how certain words are actually used within their language.  The Wordle website also focused on the use of certain words, only in this case it focused on displaying which words were used most often in a given text.  It shows this through interesting visual charts.  I found the bookworm website to also be very interesting, as it provided access to a large amount of literature sources that were related to a word that was searched.  If one were to, for example, search “war”, it would generate a graph which showed how frequently that word was used within documents during a certain time period.  it also showed how often the word was used in literature of other languages.  The last website we had to explore was the google Ngram viewer, which I was not quite sure what its purpose was.

All of the websites which we explored demonstrated the capabilities of internet as a means for storing data.  I can definitely see how the internet could be very useful in historic fields, as it will allow great amounts of information to be stored, and retrieved with relative ease.  This will allow research and the creation of statistical data to become much simpler tasks, since their will be easy and organized access to documents/sources.

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