A Tale of Two Slices

The Prose and Condiments of the American Sandwich

Let’s Look at the Chart

It’s been a long time between posts, I know. A year and a half, a little more? Long enough to get a master’s degree in library science–which is exactly what I did. So that’s why I wasn’t posting. You might now be wondering–what does this mean for A Tale of Two Slices? Smarter posts? Better analysis? Test tubes full of mayonnaise and sandwich oil? If only. But I do have some ideas.

This blog has always drawn on the largess of libraries and librarians and their capacity to facilitate research in all areas. What you might see now, reader, is some ramping up of the library content here. My goals, however, will remain the same. Eating sandwiches, and using the power of the information profession to justify my obsession. Let’s look at an example, shall we?

The Google Books Ngram Viewer is a powerful, easy-to-use tool that allows users to summarize a giant digital library’s worth of coverage on a given topic. By entering keywords, users can create graphs of a word’s use over time (it works for phrases too). While the Ngram Viewer is a tremendous tool for those engaged in the work of digital humanities, the application can also serve as one of the most effective time-stealers available on the Internet. So what does it do for our pursuit of sandwiches?

Well, here’s what bacon, lettuce, and tomato look like over time:

Use of "bacon," "tomato," and "lettuce" over time.

Now, here’s what the BLT looks like:

Use of the term "BLT" over time.

Is this breakthrough sandwich research? No, probably not. But it was really fun to do, and it does represent the powerful research strategies made possible by advances in the digital humanities.

So, stay tuned for more posts. If the information science jargon ever becomes too much, have heart–there will be more sandwiches. As eager as I am to inundate the web with the magic of library science, I’ll be sticking close to sandwiches–it’s what the blog is known for.


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This entry was posted on April 6, 2012 by in Research, Sandwiches and tagged , , , , , .
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