Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Trove Tuesday: Auld Lang Syne

Well...I was bound to end up writing about it sometime. Now is as good a time as any...

Have you ever tried to search for something, only to find your search results inundated with another, rather common name or phrase? Whilst researching the family name of AULD, invariably the top search results that come up is "Auld Lang Syne"!

Searching Trove for newspaper articles is no different...but how do you remove these unwanted words/phrases from your results?

Auld Lang Syne in print

Scottish poet Robert Byrnes is attributed with writing the poem in 1788. The National Library of Scotland has a digitised copy of Auld Lang Syne available to view online which was printed between 1787 and 1803 in the James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum.

When did it all start in Australia?

Using a fantastic tool called QueryPic (created by Tim Sherratt (@wragge) from WraggeLabs Emporium) we can analyse and plot the frequency of the use of the phrase. Querypic has the ability to search and analyse both Australian and New Zealand newspapers, but for the purpose of this exercise I restricted the search to just Australia. The results follow:

QueryPic results showing proportion of total results per year - http://dhistory.org/querypic/cx/ 

The peak above of 2,620 articles containing the phrase was printed in the year 1900, seeing out the old century, and represents 0.17% of all articles printed in that year

QueryPic results showing number of articles per year - http://dhistory.org/querypic/cx/ 

Looking at the total number of articles per year containing the phrase, the above graph highlights the year 1900 (as mentioned above in the proportions graph), but also highlights in the second peak the year 1915. In this year, a total of 2,696 articles contained the phrase, with the year on either side also recording above 2,300 articles.

It should also be noted that these results are based on the "Auld Lang Syne" phrase that has been successfully converted and/or corrected to text from the printed material in the Trove database. Results do not include the phrase if it has been incorrectly converted to text by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software and has not been successfully corrected yet by volunteers/users.

How do you remove these phrases from your Trove results

Using the Advanced Search option within Trove you just simply place the unwanted word/s or phrase (enclosed within quotes) in the Without these words field. An alternative, and the option I tend to use most, is to type the following into the main Search field :

auld NOT "Auld Lang Syne"

Happy searching...