18.386 scholarship and Google, and Alice

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 07:40:16 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 386.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: Timothy Mason <tmason_at_club-internet.fr> (11)
         Subject: Re: 18.384 scholarship and Google

   [2] From: ian.lancashire_at_utoronto.ca (33)
         Subject: Re: 18.384 scholarship and Google

   [3] From: "Lisa L. Spangenberg" (27)
         Subject: Re: 18.384 scholarship and Google

   [4] From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand_at_uiuc.edu> (37)
         Subject: google scholar

   [5] From: Patrick T Rourke <ptrourke_at_methymna.com> (24)
         Subject: Re: 18.382 Literary references to Alice in

   [6] From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois (76)
         Subject: Pedantry and Google Scholar

         Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 07:27:46 +0000
         From: Timothy Mason <tmason_at_club-internet.fr>
         Subject: Re: 18.384 scholarship and Google

Whatever one thinks of Google Scholar (which, by the way, is still a Beta
product), one might wish to test it fully before fulminating. An instant's
reflection on the terms to be used in a search for material of a literary
bent on 'Alice' will turn up leads galore. Much will undoubtedly turn out
to be dross, but, as any scholar knows, possession a pair of thigh-length
waders is de rigeur when fishing.

Best wishes

Timothy Mason
Université de Paris 8
         Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 07:28:11 +0000
         From: ian.lancashire_at_utoronto.ca
         Subject: Re: 18.384 scholarship and Google
About the Scholar.Google riff ...
several years ago I used Google's advanced search to explicate William Gibson's
name "Ninsei" in his cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (1984). William Gibson models
"cyberspace" (his coinage) on the look of Ninsei ('Night City'), supposedly a
place in Chiba City, Japan, where the novel opens. Of course the online street
maps of Chiba City, across the Bay from Tokyo, didn't show that name. I asked a
colleague who taught the Japanese language at Toronto and she answered
carefully, with some embarrassment (whether for me or her, I don't know), "it's
not a Japanese word."
Several years later, the itch having become a little enflamed in my lectures on
the novel, I turned to the advanced search on Google and looked for "Ninsei"
without words like "Gibson," "neuromancer," and "Case" (the hero). Ninsei
up as a trademark name for a well-known 17th-century Japanese stoneware artist,
the potter Tsuboya Seiemon. He manufactured tea jars for the tea ceremony ...
appropriately enough, because Gibson's down-and-out hero Henry Dorsett Case
frequents tea shops. The potter's innovation was to have introduced overglazing
on clay. The images on his tea jars are astonishing, all vivid activity and
colour against a dull clay background.
Science-Fiction Studies took the note and my explanation that Google was
the key
to finding the answer. The journal editors were surprised, maybe even
suspicious, to find something new about that novel in their mail. "I didn't
that .... is that somewhere in the literature?" I wasn't the only sf critic
unfamiliar with great Renaissance Japanese art. Gibson's wife in Vancouver had
taught English to exchange students from Chiba (a sister city) in the early
1980s, and the family learned much about Japanese culture in return.
The journal editors asked me to check the Chiba City maps. When I wrote the
clerk, she replied, Oh yes, there's no such street, but we here caught the
allusion in reading Neuromancer in translation.
So ... I have nothing but good things to say about Google.
         Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 07:29:13 +0000
         From: "Lisa L. Spangenberg" <lisa_at_digitalmedievalist.com>
         Subject: Re: 18.384 scholarship and Google
Willard wrote:
  >In other
  >words, I think what's at issue here, as far as searching strategies are
  >concerned, is an attitude toward the online material. This is why I tell
  >students that the task is not to evaluate what they find but to attempt to
  >discover what sort of knowledge it has for them and what they can do with
  >this knowledge to get them where they need to go.
I think that's true. I'm not overly enamored of Google Scholar, but I can
certainly spare the few minutes it takes to look. Sometimes I find
And yes, there's a lot of well, crap, frankly, indexed by Google. But I'm
reading an awful lot of what frankly I think of as crap in the scholarly
journals and listed in standard bibliographies as well Often I'm finding
nearly impenetrable prose that, after thirty or so pages, doesn't really
say anything.  I'm finding articles about texts written in Middle English
that make me think their authors don't actually understand Middle English,
and no, not just the ones who cite Chaucer in translation, rather than in
Middle English.  Or the articles by authors who seem to think  Celtic is a
synonym for "new age."
To some extent I suppose scholars are meant to use our skills to winnow crap.
I just wish there weren't quite so much of it. I wonder if there is a
Gresham's Law for scholarship?
Lisa L. Spangenberg      | Digital medievalist
Instructional Technology | http://www.digitalmedievalist.com/it/
My opinions are my own.  | Who else would want them?
         Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 07:28:42 +0000
         From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand_at_uiuc.edu>
         Subject: google scholar
I have never used scholar google, but I refuse no help.  Was it not
Proust who said: "Je prends mon bien par ou je le trouve" (take it
where you can get it)? Of course, there is always the problem of
the plagiarism now rampant. I don't visit wikis, frequent blogs,
etc., but I see nothing inherently wrong with them that is not
wrong with all our look-up books.
Knowledge mining through the use of key-words has an inherent
problem which is not likely to be gotten rid of.  Exemplum (you
make up the moral): I had a student who wanted to write on The
Noble Savage.  He went to the library to look up works on the
subject and came back having found little, disappointed with such
a small beginning bibliography.  I told him to go look up
Primitivism, and he came back immediately, saying that there was so
much previous work that he needed to change subjects. I cite my
favorite authority for a list of key-words for acyrologia:
"Acyrologia as a Rhetorical Device and a Mode of Thought in the
Poems of Ausias March," Estudis de LLengua, Literatura i Cultural
Catalanes.  Actes del Primer Col.loqui d'Estudis Catalans a Nord-
America, ed. Albert Porqueras-Mayo, Spurgeon Baldwin and Jaume
Marti-Olivella (Montserrat: Publicacion de l'Abadia, 1979), 181-
194. Footnote 8:
8. Some terms commonly in use in speaking of the figures of paradox
are: Acyrologia, oxymoron, contradictio in adjecto, coincidentia
oppositorum, mundus inversus, adynaton, impossibilium, polarity,
dubitatio, duplicitas, double entendre, homo viator in bivio,
anomie, vir duplex corde/animo, anomalia antinomy, antithesis,
dilemma, ®logique du coeur¯, zeugma of opposites, ambivalence,
conflit d'amour, incongruitas, paradoxisme, aprosdoketon,
conceptismo, cultismo, contrapositio, contentio, parisose,
Euphuism, Petrarchism, Gorgian figures, metaphysical, secentismo,
preciosite, pointe, mannerism, Gongorism, antimetaboly, syneciosis,
enantiosis, discordia concors. It will be noted that many of these
terms mean exactly the same thing, whereas for several stylistic
devices no terms are in common use.
When you add to the problem that of what to call something in a
foreign language (or rather, what a person writing in that language
is likely to call something), things can get really messy.
         Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 07:29:58 +0000
         From: Patrick T Rourke <ptrourke_at_methymna.com>
         Subject: Re: 18.382 Literary references to Alice in Scholar.Google?
Yes. I could provide more detail if someone prefers. I'd suggest the search
"alice in wonderland" Victorian society
Which brings up, among other listings,
"Afar All Seemed Compassed": Cosmopolitan Ethnicity in the Victorian Metropolis
Monster soup: the microscope and Victorian fantasy
Constructions of Childhood in Art and Media: Sexualized Innocence
on the first page.
Frankly, I think the problem is that those making the criticisms about this
resource are forgetting three things:
1. it is a Beta
2. humanists are not its primary intended audience
3. it is entirely dependent upon the resources it has access to. If you
cannot find a particle article in Google scholar, chances are that is
because the journal in which it was published is not available in an online
resource to which Google has obtained rights to search.
Patrick Rourke
On Nov 27, 2004, at 4:14 AM, Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard
McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>) wrote:
 >ng an adult seminar on "Alice in Wonderland as a Prism for Viewing
 >Victorian Society." I have gone through 20 screens of Scholar.Google without
 >find a single reference to this work as a piece of literature. Has anyone
 >found really scholarly material through this resource?
 >Joe Raben
         Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 07:30:15 +0000
         From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
         Subject: Pedantry and Google Scholar
It was rather fun to pass a phrase gleaned from Norman Hinton:
  > agnostic conceptual structure, or some such stuff.
through the Google Scholar indices.
The indices currently are superb for searching citations. Interesting to
learn that using the string "Willard McCarty" nets a top listing for
          Using TACT with Electronic Texts
          I Lancashire, J Bradley, W McCarty, M Stairs
          New York: MLA, December, 1996
with a lovely link to 10 online citations of which the first listed is
          Collaboration on the basis of complementary domain
          knowledge: Observed dialogue structures and their ...
          C Kneser, R Ploetzner
          Learning and Instruction, 2001
which is itself linked to 7 online  citations [...]
Try doing that with regular Google!
  > Joe Raben wrote:
  >   >In preparing an adult seminar on "Alice in Wonderland as a Prism for
  >   >Victorian Society." I have gone through 20 screens of Scholar.Google
  >   >find a single reference to this work as a piece of literature. Has
  >   >found really scholarly material through this resource?
Have people tried _Alice's Adventures in Wonderland_?
It's an old bibliography chestnut that the searchable title does not match
the common appellation.
Recently I read an abstract of a paper that Jula Flanders of Brown
University was to present at a conference, The Face of Text, at McMaster
Unfortunately I could not attend and I do not know if the paper was
delivered or how it was received if it was delivered. The note of caution
in my assertions here is no doubt inspired by the title of the paper in
question: "Text analysis and the probelm of pedantry". Allow me to quote
the last two sentances of the abstract as it appeared November 12, 2004 on
the TAPOR site.
We can find some explanation for current academic resistence to
these methods by examining historical debates about the role the scholar
(and <sic>his</sic> devalued doppelgander, the pendant) and the kinds of
literary evidence and knowledge that should inform scholarly work. The
tool and research methods now being used for computer-aided literary
analysis must work against the grain of this resistence and find a new
way of articulating the role of the detail and the datum within literary
I stress the appearance of the masculine pronoun to refer to the scholar.
And invite readers and subscribers to conduct a search using Google
Scholer and the string "gender collaboration". It's an interesting
exercise for anyone interested in pursuing questions of embodied
gnosis and conceptual structures. For those interested in a different root
try "Alice caucus". Quite the race!
In short, Google Scholar is a fine tool for pursuing linkages. It may have
other uses. And prizes for all.
Recall that in the fictional universe of Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland, the caucus race is ... read here:
There was no `One, two, three, and away,' but they began running when they
liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when
the race was over.  However, when they had been running half an hour or
so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out `The race is
over!' and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, `But who has
won?' This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of
thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its
forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the
pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said,
'EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.'
28, 2004</date></bibl>
-- Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance
A calendar is like a map. And just as maps have insets, calendars in the
21st century might have 'moments' expressed in flat local time fanning out
into "great circles" expressed in earth revolution time.
Received on Mon Nov 29 2004 - 02:46:19 EST

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