12.0580 text-analysis & related matters

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Mon, 26 Apr 1999 22:17:48 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 580.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1999 21:55:40 +0100
From: Eric Johnson <johnsone@jupiter.dsu.edu>
Subject: Text analysis, book reviews, and electronic versions

An author, Rod Lindberg, recently contacted me and asked if I would do
some computer analysis of the novel he is writing. He thought that if I
could show him the word frequencies and other patterns of his novel and
compare them with the patterns of classic novels, that he would be sure to
publish a best-selling novel. I did the analysis, but I warned him that I
was skeptical that such analysis alone would produce a great novel.

Lindberg sent me a copy of his first book: _Cousin Eddy: Motorhome and
Towing Truck Performance_. I greatly enjoyed reading _Cousin Eddy_, and
when I told the author that, he suggested that I write a review of the
book and send it to Amazon.com. I did write a short review, and I posted
it on the Amazon.com site. This was a new idea to me. It made me wonder:
Will "publishing" book reviews on book sellers' sites be common in the
future? Will such online reviews replace the traditional printed reviews
in magazines and journals?

After posting my review on the Amazon.com site, I made some additions
to it, and I put this revised version on my Web site, and I called it
Version 2. Almost immediately, I thought of some changes that I should
make in my review, and I made them, and I replaced Version 2 on my Web
site with Version 3. It can be found at:


This process made me think: Version 1 of my review is on the Amazon.com
site, and Version 3 is on my site, where is Version 2? The answer is that
it is nowhere. The electronic world seems rather different from the
traditional world of printed publications.

I would be interested to know what list members think about these
matters -- and about my review. -- Eric

--Eric Johnson

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