1.1 OVERVIEW OF THIS BOOK
This is a practical book that introduces the key ideas of text mining. It assumes that you have electronic texts to analyze and are willing to write programs using the programming language Perl. Although programming takes effort, it allows a researcher to do exactly what he or she wants to do. Interesting texts often have many idiosyncrasies that defy a software package approach.
Numerous, detailed examples are given throughout this book that explain how to write short programs to perform various text analyses. Most of these easily fit on one page, and none are longer than two pages. In addition, it takes little skill to copy and run code shown in this book, so even a novice programmer can get results quickly.
The first programs illustrating a new idea use only a line or two of text. However, most of the programs in this book analyze works of literature, which include the 68 short stories of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Die Leiden des jungen Werthers. All of these are in the public domain and are available from the Web for free. Since all the software to write the programs is also free, you can reproduce all the analyses of this book on your computer without any additional cost.
This book is built around the programming language Perl for several reasons. First, Perl is free. There are no trial or student versions, ...