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Please, No Text Mining Here

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P ublishers and professors are fighting over text mining. This is why. Ever wondered what happens to the millions of articles published yearly in academic journals? Who reads them, as horridly boring as they are?  In the old days, before computers arrived on earth, Professor Naughty would imprison himself in a cold, dusty library reading room and flip through page after page of texts, tables of content, footnotes, etc. Well, these days there are extremely powerful computers that can do what’s called text mining. They can zap through gazillion amounts of content and find key patterns and connections. Text mining can be used for intelligence analysis, social media marketing—you name it. It’s simply a way to dig up and make sense of specific kinds of information buried within a pile of data.

We all know that there’s nothing good that doesn’t attract haters–publishers in this case. This morning at the Guardian UK, they’re saying that Academic publishers—the Wileys and the Macmillans— are not too psyched about text mining. It appears it’s not commercially viable for them. I wonder why. But academic researchers are not going to give up so easily. Who is going to win in this tussle? The publisher or the professor? You know who I’m rooting for.

 

Post Image: Letter Written in Cipher on Morning Paper by Rose Greenhow via

Feature Image: via Smithsonian Institute

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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