Google Ngram Viewer Tool: Analyzing and Comparing Urban Metabolism Phrases

Published on Nov 01, 2016



What is Ngram Viewer?


The Ngram Viewer developed by Google Books displays information through case sensitive phrases over a powerful collection of books, journals and other sources over selected years through varying frequencies. The Ngram Viewer may be used for scholars interested to expand their knowledge on phrase usage, wildcard search, inflection and comparison (Advanced Usage). The phrase selection can be utilized in multiple languages (English, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Spanish, Russian and Italian) and may obtain different results.

 

How does it work?

The graph allows you to hover over the line plot for an ngram, which highlights it. With a left click on a line plot, you can focus on a particular ngram, greying out the other ngrams in the chart, if any. On subsequent left clicks on other line plots in the chart, multiple ngrams can be focused on. You can double click on any area of the chart to reinstate all the ngrams in the query. The Ngram Viewer raw data is also available for download (Read more about it here).


Analyzing and comparing data


Example 1: Most popular environmental method(s): Life Cycle Assessment, Material Flow Analysis, Emergy, Environmental Footprint and Urban Metabolism


The example graph below shows trends in five Ngrams from the 1800 to 2008 by typing "material flow analysis, life cycle assessment, emergy, environmental footprint and urban metabolism” (a 5-gram or bigram). The y-axis shows: all of the bigrams contained in Ngram Viewer’s sample of books written in English, the percentage of the “selected phrase and incremental/decremental phase. The graph displays the most popular method phrases used between 1800 to 2008 to be "life cycle assessment and emergy when compared to environmental footprint, material flow analysis and urban metabolism." 


Example 2: Most popular professional field phrase(s): Social Ecology, Political Ecology, Industrial Ecology and Environmental Ecology

The example graph below show trends in four Ngrams between the 1800 to 2008 by typing “Social Ecology, Political Ecology Industrial Ecology and Environmental Ecology” (a 4-gram or bigram). The y-axis shows: all of the bigrams contained in Ngram Viewer’s sample of books written in English, the percentage of phrase and incremental/decremental phase. Here, you can see that the use of the phrase Social Ecology started to rise in the 1920’s. Both Social Ecology and Political Ecology have declined in the 2000s, while Industrial Ecology has gained popularity in the 2000s.


Example 3: Most popular material and energy phrase(s): Water Consumption, Energy Consumption and Material Consumption

The example graph below show trends in three Ngrams between the 1800 to 2008 by typing “Water Consumption, Energy Consumption and Material Consumption” (a 3-gram or bigram). The y-axis shows: all of the bigrams contained in Ngram Viewer’s sample of books written in English, the percentage of phrase and incremental/decremental phase. Here, you can see that the use of the phrase Energy Consumption is the most utilized environmental phrase when compared to Water Consumption and Material Consumption.



Example 4: Most popular environmental phrase(s): Pollution, Anthropogenic Effects, Drought and Hazardous Waste


The example graph below show trends in four Ngrams between the 1800 to 2008 by typing “Pollution, Anthropogenic Effects, Drought and Hazardous Waste” (a 4-gram or bigram). The y-axis shows: all of the bigrams contained in Ngram Viewer’s sample of books written in English, the percentage of phrase and incremental/decremental phase. Pollution and Drought are the most popular phrases when compared to Hazardous Waste and Anthropogenic Effects.