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Exercise 8

1 min read

Although the metadata provided us with a lot of quantitative information about the group of novels we studied, there were several aspects of this collection of works that went un-described by the dataset. While completing the exercise, I found myself wondering about the popularity of these novels. Additionally, during the topic modeling exercise, we saw that while some of the topics generated seemed to be random amalgamations of unrelated words, topics that were relatively cohesive and identifiable did appear.

I would like to address the popularity of different topics during the 18th century and combine both metadata and topic modeling to track what subjects people were most interested in reading about. I would first choose several well defined topics (possibilities could include exploration/travel, family, literature/fine arts etc.) and collect data on the individual novels that comprise each topic. Obtaining informationon how many copies of each of these books were printed or sold would most likely require some digging, but if getting a hold of this data were possible, I could then monitor the popularity of each topic over a specified time period.