If library books had a “ctrl+F” function I would be deliriously happy

Before reading or watching anything for this week, I first had to look-up “text mining” and “n-grams.” I attempted to read without doing so and became lost immediately. I’m not sure I understand, but I believe text mining has something to do with organizing information on websites to make it easier for the text to be searched by search engines. N-grams were an ever greater mystery and I can only conclude they are somehow associated with the text organizing. I have come to the conclusion that Dr. McClurken put those terms on the syllabus to be intimidating.

My response to the Google video was a resounding “…what?” The comments alone were intimidating because of their writers’ evident knowledge on an issue I listened to with great pain. After skimming through the video, I’m not sure what I was supposed to get out of it, other than to be once again reminded that I am not technologically adept. My best guess is that it was talking about how Google translates foreign languages for its users. I think someone with linguistic training would have better understood the language alignment he kept talking about.

The same confusion followed for the Babel article on data mining, Digital History Hacks, and Dan Cohen’s blog. However, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” was clearer, while the site on Mining the Dispatch and “Applying Quantitative Analysis to Classic Lit” were helpful examples of the text mining and digital history connection. As someone who was too young to research before the internet, I cannot clearly see how the internet might have changed the way we read and view material. I can, however, identify with the way the author describes how he now views material. (See post title.) By the end of the article, I couldn’t tell if the author was trying to warn the readers about not letting our mental processes be consumed by mechanical thought, or if he was simply foretelling an inevitably dire future.

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3 Responses to “If library books had a “ctrl+F” function I would be deliriously happy”

  1. I agree-if only books had a “ctrl+F” function-that would make research so much easier than using the index. Sometimes the index of a book does not include everything! And since most of us do not have the time to sit and read every possible source from cover to cover before deciding to use it, that little “ctrl+F” would be very handy! 🙂

  2. ctrumbetic says:

    As much as I hate this crazy digital world that I had no clue existed, I agree with you that the way we use the internet to research is inevitable. At this point, it is so embedded in everyone’s brain to go to Google, Yahoo, and occasionally Bing that I don’t know if our dependency on these sites has helped made us smarter of dumber. Now, we have a large range of facts available to us at all times, but at the same time we have lost our ability to think critically and without the internet in our hands.

  3. ricard says:

    Thank you for teaching me ctrl+F. Thats how not tech savvy I am…I didn’t even know you could do that! Lol Yeah alot of the video went over my head too! However McClurkens description in class made much more sense to me.