Big data for the humanities using Google Ngrams: Discovering hidden patterns of conceptual trends

Shai Ophir


“Big data” methodologies bring new potential for humanities research. Google’s Ngram Viewer provides an extraordinary tool for tracking long-term usage of terms. Although this is a very high level trend analysis, it may shed light on hidden relations that can be discovered only at the macro resolution level. This short paper will attempt to analyze the historical hidden patterns of the term “Truth” during the last 500 years. Its relation with the term “Love” will be revealed. The results are also compared with the manual analysis of “Truth Systems,” by Pitirim Sorokin in 1937.


Digital Humanities, Culturomics, Google Ngram Viewer, History of Philosophy, Sorokin

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