KWIC and Dirty? Human Cognition and the Claims of Full-Text Searching


Over the last several years, full-text searching of large text corpora has placed an extraordinarily powerful tool in the hands of humanities students and scholars. Use of these corpora is now entering mainstream research and, not surprisingly, is affecting research methods and the nature and quality of research outcomes. Using evidence from the literary record and from current research in human cognition, the author points to certain disjunctions between the machine processes that enable full-text searching and the subtle cognitive processes that underlie human learning and reasoning.

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