Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: culturomics

Culturomics on the horizon

Conservation culturomics is one of this year's emerging issues.

Conservation culturomics is one of this year’s emerging issues.

I drove in this slippery morning listening to the Smiths, turning off my car during Some Girls are Bigger Than Others. It’s still in my head, but now I’m hearing “some cites are better than others”. Earlier this week I saw that our Mactaquac ‘flocus group’ work was cited in an interesting new article by Susana Batel engaging critically with social acceptance of energy literature. Bummer, then, to see our paper reported as case work from Nevada, USA, instead of New Brunswick, Canada! Improving my mood, this morning, our culturomics commentary in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on the potential of images in culturomics was one of five cited in the ninth annual ‘horizon scan’ of emerging issues for global conservation and biological diversity in Trends in Ecology & Evolution to support the growing importance of conservation culturomics. Some citations are truly better than others.

Uncharted

Aiden and Michel's (2013) book reveals how big data can help us understand how culture has changed.

Aiden and Michel’s (2013) book reveals how big data can help us understand how culture has changed.

I pulled this book, Uncharted (2013), by Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel, out of a bargain bin at Chapters a few weeks ago, and it is another example of serendipity. These Harvard PhDs collaborated with Google’s book digitization project to develop the Google Ngram tool. They liken their project to a tool to a microscope or telescope, which were tools that brought new dimensions to view for scientists. Their culture-scope is able to track uses of terms or phrases over time within Google Books’ enormous and growing database of digitized literature. They coined the term ‘culturomics‘, which is too awkward to stick, but the value is clear. Watch the holistic idea of ‘landscape’ overtake the aesthetically driven ‘scenery’ around the turn of the last century (below). Lots of food for thought in a world of Big Data.

Google Ngram View of landscape versus scenery in English text corpus, 1800 to 2000.

Google Ngram View of landscape versus scenery in English text corpus, 1800 to 2000.

© 2018 Kate Sherren

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑