The Future of Books

8-29-10ipadI’m sort of obsessed with this topic as a book lover, historian and someone who embraces new technology. With the advent of the ebook, everyone seems to wonder what will become of the typical paper book. When I was working at a public library, it was around the time that ereaders got really big; it seemed like everyone and their grandma (literally) got one for Christmas and was eager to use it to take out library books. Continue reading

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Minimalism 101

minI went to talk about minimalism tonight at the Centre for Social Innovation. Promoting their new book were minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, the two men behind the blog The Minimalists. They spoke for about a half hour about how minimalism changed their lives and increased their happiness and then did a really extensive Q&A with the audience. Continue reading

Let them eat cake? The process of re-discovering Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette was the controversial and tragic French queen who was one of many victims of the French Revolution in the late 18th century. Her life fascinates me, and I feel that she’s often misrepresented in history, or should I say, historical depictions of her aren’t quite as accurate as they could be. Haven’t we all heard the stories of a cruel queen who shouted “Let them eat cake!” when told that French peasants were starving because they had no bread to eat? Continue reading

The Awakening and Practical Uses of TAPoR

Text Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR) is a research tool that allows the user to analyze any body of online text. It’s simple enough that all you need to do is copy and paste the url of whatever website of text you’d like to analyze. A good way of doing this with books is to use Project Gutenberg. You’ll find a selection of older books that have been completely digitized and have been placed online.

All in all, the generator is pretty awesome. It allows you to identify the frequency and patterns of when certain words appear in the body of text you’re analyzing. It can help people analyze books more thoroughly when knowing when and where certain words appear, thus helping them identify key themes at certain points in the book. I could personally see this tool as being very helpful in researching a paper, regardless of the discipline. Continue reading