Textual analysis through the Ngram Viewer and Mining the Dispatch offers new ways to explore into our past by analyzing documents for specific words or for certain combination of words within databases. This process allows for the incorporation of much more information at a scale never fathomed before. The Science article exhibited this well through the examples of it taking 80 years to read only the English entries at 200 words/min without rest and how it would reach the moon and back 10 times over if written out in a straight line.

Such vastness simply means new methods are required in order to derive the most effective use for the public. Mining the Dispatch incorporates the method of Topic Modeling in an attempt to distinguish topics with the association from the words used together. The shortcoming from this tool lies with the lack of critical thinking involved with the association which led to the grouping of fugitive slave ads to the topic of “entertainment and culture” through the presence of clothing within the description. I found this practice to be innovative as it attempts to establish connections from mere text rather than an analysis of the context. This method of research supplements the current study of history with sets of ideas which opens up new areas to potentially look into.

Google’s Ngram Viewer is a tool which plots the frequency of the phrases inputted within a certain period from the corpus by Google books. This could be used to compare different subjects and to chart the change of occurrence over time. I found this aspect to be particularly effective since a lot could be derived from knowing what was included and excluded from the press. The user friendly features such as the year and the percentage of occurrence following the cursor as we move around are simple additions which add to the effectiveness of this tool. Another addition to this would be the vastness of literature in which it draws upon as the database contains 8 different languages. While playing with the Ngram Viewer I decided to explore how the three main sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics interacted since the 16’th century. The results indicated that there were long gaps within the progression of these studies with great spurts at certain periods, which would be distinct moments in history with specific reasons for the increase or decrease of occurrence within books. A tool as Google Ngram would be a great starting point to explore into how certain topics relate with one another along with how the relations may change over time.


The Science article further supported the potential of the effectiveness from this digitization process through the introduction of projects which successfully used textual analysis. The project to determine how many words are in the English language and the evolution of grammar are prime examples of the potential that lies with textual analysis. The article also discussed the impact of censorship within Nazi Germany through the frequency of the Jewish artist Marc Chagall between the English and German language which exhibited the effects of Nazi censorship as his name disappeared completely during the years of the Third Reich.

I believe textual analysis should be integrated in the study of history as the vastness of material in this day and age calls for it, but to be done alongside normal research for optimal results. The shortcoming from Mining the Dispatch would be the occasional grouping of unrelated topics, and the lack of specific details would be the downfall from Google Ngram, and both could be solved with additional research.