Q re searching Google Books

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Nov 6 01:09:16 UTC 2013

Thanks, Garson.  I had momentarily thought of exclusions, but hadn't
actually tried them because I assumed they wouldn't help distinguish
singular vs. plural or with apostrophe from without.  But your
suggestion does help somewhat.

"pope day" -pope's does eliminate hits that include "pope's".  The
count is about 4,000. I suspect all will be relevant to the holyday
(as they would have termed it in the 18th century) -- any search
looking for  "pope day" would be unlikely to find something else.

But "pope's day" -pope is likely to exclude a number of hits that are
pertinent, such as "on pope's day an effigy of the pope would be
carried through the streets on a carriage".  So I tried "pope's day"
without the exclusion, yielding 8,840 hits.  But some unknown
percentage of these will not be relevant, for example celebration of
the "pope's day" of some actual Catholic pope, or constructs like "in
Pope's day, ...", which might be frequent considering the popularity
of the poet.

This led me to think about my real target, contemporary occurrences,
either in the 18th century or between 1605 and 1799.  But that
confronts the usual GBook unreliability when date ranges are
specified.  I wonder what a timeline graph would show, but I don't
see that as an option with GBooks, if it still exists.  Searching for
"pope's day" (without an exclusion) in 1700--1799 gives 10 hits
(determined by scanning successive pages), none of which are
relevant.  Intriguing if "Pope's Day" was never used in the 18th
century to refer to the 5th of November; but I'm queasy.  Although in
fact the holiday was probably much more frequently called "the fifth
of November" than either "Pope Day" or "Pope's Day".

If anyone has a suggestion for an improved search strategy, I would
be pleased to hear.


At 11/5/2013 02:13 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>Joel: You could try the following query:
>"Pope Day" -Pope's
>Alternatively, you could visit the advanced search page and fill in
>two slots as follows:
>with the exact phrase: Pope Day
>without the words: Pope's
>This may achieve you goal or part of your goal. Please let me know if
>it is helpful,
>On Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 12:04 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> > Subject:      Q re searching Google Books
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Is there any way to search Google Books for "Pope Day" without also
> > getting "Pope's Day" in the results?  Whereas searching for "Pope's
> > Day" seems to exclude "Pope Day".
> >
> > Of course, it all may be pointless, since it will be hard to exclude
> > instances of "[Alexander] Pope's day", which might be frequent.
> >
> > Joel
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list