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Word-Wide Web Launches


Mickey Mouse, Jimmy Carter

Mentions of Jimmy Carter jumped past those of Mickey Mouse beginning in 1974.

Associated Press

Language analysts, sifting through two centuries of words in the millions of books in Google Inc.'s growing digital library, found a new way to track the arc of fame, the effect of censorship, the spread of inventions and the explosive growth of new terms in the English-speaking world.

In research reported Thursday in the journal Science, the scientists at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Google and the Encyclopedia Britannica unveiled a database of two billion words and phrases drawn from 5.2 million books in Google's digital library published during the past 200 years. With this tool, researchers can measure trends through the language authors used and the names of people they mentioned.

It's the first time scholars have used Google's controversial trove of digital books for academic research, and the result was opened to the public online Thursday.

From The Wall Street Journal
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