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Data Mining Tackles Literary Analysis

booksIf you can ask the right question data mining can help you find answers in surprising places. Just ask Matthew Jockers, an assistant professor at the University of Lincoln.

The Daily Nebraskan seems an unlikely place to find a story about data mining. A college English Department seems an even more unlikely place. But there it is.

Jockers, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, uses a type of text analysis called macroanalysis. Instead of focusing on the themes, ideas and concepts of an individual author, macroanalysis compares the individual to the group.

His previous research looked at late 18th and 19th century books, and now he’s looking at more than 50,000 books from the 19th and 20th century. The books are compared to point out similar wording, overarching concepts and other literary trends among individuals, sexes, time periods, regions or demographic groups.

…This information brings to light potential answers to many of the literary world’s questions. Themes and ideas of overarching societies and cultures will be able to be more clearly defined. Companies and writers can even use the information to determine what makes a good book.

This is proof positive that setting a solid target in a creative, strategic way is more important than math. When Jockers needed math he turned to a math professor to get the model set up, but this research would not be happening if he hadn’t first come up with a firm road map of where he wanted to go.

How are your target setting skills? If you’d like to sharpen them so that you can start bringing the benefits of data mining to your organization then it’s time to get started with The Modeling Agency’s free webinar, “Data Mining, Failure to Launch.” What will you do with your data?

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