Computer-assisted reading

Please read the article Google Ngram Viewer Possibilities
Limitations before your initial post or reply
post.  The question below regarding ‘computer assisted reading’ does NOT
refer to reading on a computer monitor NOR does it refer to a computer assisted
voice actually reading a book.  ‘Computer assisted reading’ refers to the
human beings would do, while reading a book or article.

In week 3, we used
Google’s NGram viewer to launch a discussion about terminology in the course:
business intelligence, data analytics, data science.   It also gave
us the opportunity to introduce some data visualization into the course. 

In this week’s
discussion, we’ll be returning to Google’s NGram, but from a different angle,
from the angle of data collection and what is the impact of analyzing data
using data analytics tools.  

a starting point, we’ll read an article found under Content: “Google NGram
Viewer: Opportunities and Limitations”.  Also available here:



Google Ngram Viewer Possibilities

One important learning
point from this week’s discussion is to internalize that data is NOT just
numbers, it’s also words (yes and counts of words, which are numbers). 
But the meaning and evolving meaning of words are also data.

As for the topic or
question(s) this week for the initial post group, we’ll keep it somewhat
open-ended, but based on a few assertions and questions posed by the authors of
the article.  First of all, from the very first sentence of the article,
the authors announce their intention to provide “a basic introduction into the
possibilities of computer-assisted reading.”

reading?  Is that what we’re doing, reading, assisted by a computer?

By the end of the
article, they make another assertion: “Digital methods can allow us to make
observations about vast numbers of texts. Far more than you would be able to
read yourself.”   Further they state, “That last phrase should cause
some alarm: we haven’t actually read any of these texts, but we are making
observations about them nonetheless. We hope you will think deeply about the
implications about such an act.”

for the initial post group, there are three options for your initial
post.   As in other weeks, initial posts should be a minimum of 250
words.  If one of the options below don’t ‘inspire’ you to write 250
words, then choose a different option OR choose to respond to more than one
option in your initial post.

OPTION 1: And now three
questions, again from the authors (if you choose to address these questions,
please take them in a group, if you address the question of what this form of
reading ‘loses’, please also try to brainstorm on what this form of reading
‘gains’ AND how we might maximize gains and minimize what is lost):

What does this form of reading lose?

What does it gain?

How it can it be approached in ways that minimize
the former and maximize the latter?

OPTION 2: Of course, we
might begin with the question above (if you choose to address this question,
you must, at some point, address, with external research, what it means ‘to

Is that what we’re doing, reading, assisted by a

OPTION 3: Finally, read
the final section, the final paragraph on Interpretation.  I won’t quote
the author’s directly here, but there are a few interesting assertions there,
worthy of comments, questions and discussions.

For reply groups, please
do not be satisfied simply to ‘react’ to the initial posts.  There’s a lot
of interesting room for discussion here, in particular about the open-ended
section on Interpretation.  If the initial post concentrates on one phrase
in that section, but actually you were more struck by a different passage,
sentence or assertion, by all means, say so and elaborate.