American Song Sheets, another new digital collection we published in October, includes approximately 1,800 broadsides and song sheets from nineteenth-century America. For this collection, we provide the song sheet images, as well as the searchable full text of the song lyrics. Will processed the full text to generate a collection-level “term cloud” based on commonly occurring words within the lyrics. This technique has proven useful for other collections, such as the Sidney Gamble Photographs of China term clouds (in two languages!) and the Americans in the Land of Lenin collection term cloud.
For the Song Sheets, Will also used full-text processing to enhance the metadata for each item with “more frequent words” and “less frequent words.” These approaches allow us to support additional browsing pathways for our users without the costs of hand-crafted metadata.