Data & Analytics

NC State Researchers First To Drill into Gale Databases for Data Mining

Last week North Carolina State University Libraries became the first organization to sign a license with Gale that allows its researchers to mine the data in the historical archive collections held by the publishing firm. This week, the Cengage Learning-owned company has begun inviting other institutions to sign on for similar research programs.

Under the new agreement, researchers in the digital humanities can uncover patterns in content through the use of several Gale-provided tools and through other research techniques.

One new user is Paul Fyfe, an assistant professor in the North Carolina State English department. He'll be using the new license to drill into 19th century British newspapers. "This partnership represents an exciting frontier for scholars interested in exploring new approaches to digital source materials, whether text, metadata, or image," he said in a statement. "For humanities researchers, digitized historical content helps us to test new methods of inquiry. It also opens doors to collaborating with partners across disciplines, including computer scientists who are intrigued by how to recognize feature sets and higher-order relationships in large semi-structured bodies of data."

The arrangement requires Gale to deliver content to the customer for the data mining. That content may come from "most" of its digital collections, including research databases, and content from the company's newspaper archives and other collections. Research can be done through Gale's "term frequency " and "term cluster " tools, to help searchers identify relationships between words and phrases.

The term frequency tool is used to find out how often a search term has occurred over time. Once those results appear on the display, the research can click on a date point to see the results for that given period or year.

The term cluster tool creates a visual representation of results by topic and sub-topic, showing frequently occurring and related terms. An inner ring displays broader results; an outer ring shows more specific results. By clicking on a given term, the specific results show up on in a right column.

The company will be hosting a webinar on the new program on Wednesday, November 19, at 3 p.m. Eastern time.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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