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The Decline of the Commons? Not Really.

March 28, 2011

Michel alerted me to this post provocatively entitled ‘The Decline of the Commons, 1760 to 2000, as Plotted by Google‘. It looks as an interesting search engine Google have developed that looks though millions of books for words and gives you a graph of their use over time. So the post author put in the word commons and got:

The implicit conjecture that this result, the decline of the use of the word, may also mean the decline of the idea is in no way accurate. This tool could be used to track ideas, yes. But more than that it tracks the language we use to express ideas. So what we mean by ‘commons’ has developed, expanded and diversified over time to include ideas like ‘open source’, ‘free software’ and ‘peer-to-peer’. You’d need to aggregate all the words and terms used to track the idea and this post does not do that. Now that would be an interesting result…

(Also posted on P2P Foundation blog too)

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