Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A New Toy

Amazon recentlly made a curious addition to its "Search Inside" feature: Statistically Improbable Phrases. Amazon explains:

Statistically Improbable Phrases, or "SIPs", show you the interesting, distinctive, or unlikely phrases that occur in the text of books in Search Inside the Book. Our computers scan the text of all books in the Search Inside program. If they find a phrase that occurs a large number of times in a particular book relative to how many times it occurs across all Search Inside books, that phrase is a SIP in that book.

The phrases for James Joyce's "Ulysses" include tooraloom tooraloom tooraloom, quaker librarian, absentminded beggar, matrimonial gift, base barreltone

For "Ivanhoe":
eighty zecchins, hundred zecchins, green cassock, our holy order, thy ransom, good yeoman, thy tribe, sayst thou, good youth, wounded knight, most reverend father, hundred crowns, good knight, thy choice, your valour

Alas, there is no way to search "Tristam Shandy" or "The C Programming Language."

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