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Try Bookworm

Bookworm (http://bookworm.culturomics.org/)  offers a simple and powerful way to visualize trends in repositories of digitized texts. Created by historian Ben Schmidt and a group of scholars at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard using OpenLibrary, ArXiV (science publications), Chronicling America, US Congress (bills, amendments, and resolutions), and Social Science Research Network (research paper abstracts).

Others can create their own Bookworms to work with other corpora. Some examples include Vogue magazine (we will look more closely at this later), Rate my Professor, and State of the Union addresses.

Bookworm: Open Library

Corpus: Open Library

  • Project of the Internet Archive, an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published, with the tagline “one web page for every book.” Example: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
  • Also includes open domain books. Example: Jane Austen’s Emma (in case you’re tired of Project Gutenberg)

To use:

Go to the Open Library Bookworm. You will see that the creators have demonstrated how this tool can be used by inputting words. Clear the defaults by clicking the minus sign.

step1Put a word into the search box that you would like to see graphed. You can restrict the search by subject, narrow subject, subject heading, language, country, and state.

step2You can add additional terms using the plus sign. This is helpful if you want to comparatively examine multiple words on the same graph. When done inputting search terms, click Search.

A graph will appear. Be sure to check what exactly is being graphed on the X and Y axes. By clicking on the gear icon in the top right-hand corner, you can further refine the graph by time (dropdown menu and chronology), quantity, case (sensitive or insensitive), and smoothing.


By hovering over the graph, you can select various points on the lines that will provide you with links to the texts that contain the words for which you searched.


If you would like to share your graph, you can download it as a PNG, JPEG, PDF, or SVG by clicking the download arrow and share it on your blog, or you may also link back to your visualization.

Try it out:
What trends will you find by searching the Social Science Research Network?

Updated on July 31, 2018

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