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Goin’ Googly!

This weeks reading was a whole lot  of google information. I enjoyed reading and watching about a feature that I use at least three times a day! I never really thought about the data set and the lexicon that went along with my innocent google terms such as “flourless chocolate cake” or “the history of Appalachian folk music” (for my thesis). I think that I understand the concept, every time you type something into google, it sends out a query to a database which in turn lists possible sources with the same words. As Peter Norvig reminds us, we have to understand that google and other search engines look for the actual word and not the concept itself so we may not always be happy with the results but generally we will receive what we ask for. I enjoyed the question and answer portion at the end of the talk, especially when Norvig briefly talked about OCR, when he related it to the book scanning project I knew that I had to look it up on, you guessed it, GOOGLE…which brought me to wikipedia…but we’ve already talked about that so…moving on. OCR is Optical Character Recognition, which is basically scanned documents that are cataloged in a database. It also is smart software that reads fonts and words so that these documents can be search-able just like any other term that we google. I immediately thought of the James Monroe group for this one with all of their transcriptions.

Dan Cohen took this idea  little further when he talked about the H-bot tool and how a system like that could analyze and answer a question rather than looking for an actual word. When comparing Norvig to Cohen, I have to say that Cohen seemed to frame his explanation  in a more user friendly way. Illustrating the user interface as well as explaining the process behind that tool.

I also enjoyed “Googling the Victorians”, I too appreciate the speed at which one can recover scholarly articles and periodicals via google. I personally use search the “scholarly article” tab for every research paper that I do, so thank you Patrick Leary for reminding me that I am not alone in this search!

As for group news:

I don’t know what Megan said at the ring ceremony but there are certainly more entries on our guestbook!!! Yay to her and her marketing skills! This weekend, Jonathan looked up faculty alumni and emailed them our introductory letter with the link to our website and I looked up the admission staff alums and emailed them the same information. We are all working on our research so as we plug along everyone should check the site OFTEN for updated information on the Alumni in the images.  I plan on spending all of my free time tomorrow, Tuesday, on the third floor of the library looking through old year books! One of the time periods that I am responsible for is the 1910’s and 1920’s so I am really excited to search the pages of those old books! Other than that, we are still on track and moving forward everyday.

I will leave you with this picture as an homage to “Applying Quantitative Analysis to Classic Lit” in combination with the most unlikely of words to be googled together!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

3 Comments on “Goin’ Googly!”

  1. #1 adegraffenreid31708
    on Mar 24th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    You’re right about the transcriptions. Having everything written in would make it much easier to search through and study the documents.
    Congrats on getting more in your guest book

    As far as Appalachian folk music (excellent topic, btw)…have you gone up to the Smithsonian folklife center…they have a WEALTH of information on it (mostly because their archivist Jeff Place loves Appalachian stuff, and they did a festival on it a few years ago)…as if you needed more to do

    and an interesting tidbit on Appalachian music…the folklife center recently released a cd on Appalachian BLUES music…which is absolutely fascinating and unexpected, so you may want to check it out just for grins 🙂

    Good luck on everything! Lexy

  2. #2 b4ssm4st3r
    on Mar 24th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    That’s great that you have gotten more visitors! We are working on the publicizing thing now too. Apparently the GW foundation wants us to email them the URL when the site is up, which is kind of cool.
    Have fun looking through the old books!

  3. #3 clevine
    on Mar 24th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you both for the great comments. Thank you Lexy, I am actually trying to set up a meeting with the Smithsonian Folkways folks. I actually have many of their cds including the Blues one. I subscribe to all of their podcasts. Thank you for the great comments guys!! -Caryn

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