Past, Present and Future of the Third Media Revolution

Your Infinite “Meta Book” and Random Textual Fingerprint

December 20th, 2009

In the New Journal of Physics (Dec 10, 2009, full PDF available) Sebastian Bernhardsson, Luis Enrique Correa da Rocha and Petter Minnhagen explore the idea that the systematic text-length dependence can be described by a meta book concept, which is an abstract representation reflecting the word-frequency structure of a text. According to this concept the word-frequency distribution of a text, with a certain length written by a single author, has the same characteristics as a text of the same length extracted from an imaginary complete infinite corpus written by the same author.

From their article “The meta book and size-dependent properties of written language:”

“The writing of a text can be described by a process where the author pulls a piece of text out of a large mother book (the meta book) and puts it down on paper. This meta book is an imaginary infinite book that gives a representation of the word-frequency characteristics of everything that a certain author could ever think of writing. This has nothing to do with semantics and the actual meaning of what is written, but rather concerns the extent of the vocabulary, the level and type of education, and the personal preferences of an author. The fact that people have such different backgrounds, together with the seemingly different behavior of the function N(M) for the different authors, opens up the speculation that everyone has a personal and unique meta book, in which case it can be seen as an author’s fingerprint.”

Jaap Bloem

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