In an article from the New York Times, Dickens, Austen and Twain, Through a Digital Lens, they discussed may forms of Big Data analysis, including the popular studies from Google’s Book scanning project, which according to the article scanned 20 million books, and the site is used 50 times a minute. Other studies sited in the article stated movie quotes from the Internet Movie Database, IMDb, as well as looking at advertising slogans raised questions regarding the search algorithms and the people who create them.
Quantitative tools in the humanities and the social sciences, as in other fields, are most powerful when they are controlled by an intelligent human. Experts with deep knowledge of a subject are needed to ask the right questions and to recognize the shortcomings of statistical models.
“You’ll always need both,” says Mr. Jockers, the literary quant. “But we’re at a moment now when there is much greater acceptance of these methods than in the past. There will come a time when this kind of analysis is just part of the tool kit in the humanities, as in every other discipline.”
In the article, it surfaces as a ‘tread lightly’ warning; however, it sounds like an inevitable, troubling, and tantalizing forbidden fruit. Part of me would recommend scanning in all types of scripts, from Television Shows, Advertisements, and Movie Scripts, produced and also not aired. There could even be a profitable model to this, and at the same time, make the person asking the questions think real hard on the question before asking, because every answer has a price. If you put in all of the above scripts into an indexable data warehouse, associate a cost assigned per production company to charge back to the user and provide the fee to the production company if a) the abbreviated content shows up in a search as a line item and b) if the full content is selected by the user to be displayed with the indexable content selected and shown in it’s context. Two separate pricing models are used for each type, so each action comes with a price. On the positive side, there are creative talents that went into the creation of the script, and the production company that was able to acquire the script if produced or not, will still reap dividends from the creative artist that produced the script. There are already sites that contain script libraries, so a transformation would be required to utilize the scattered site libraries for analytical processing. Each feed would be allowed to have charge back for the library access, and a fee margin per hit.