Word frequency analysis of electronic reference questions

Sloan, Bernie bernies at UILLINOIS.EDU
Tue Dec 4 11:33:08 EST 2001

I'm considering doing a word frequency analysis of library reference
questions submitted to a chat-based collaborative online reference service,
and I was wondering if anyone might be able to point me to a good general
overview of word frequency analysis?

I have about five hundred reference questions, as they were typed by the
users of this chat-based service. I've run a sample of about 100 of these
questions through a word frequency analysis program, and I have the
resulting word frequency list in an Excel spreadsheet. I'd like to play
around with this sample a bit and determine whether I want to spend time on
a more in-depth analysis.

My literature searches have turned up a number of papers on word frequency
analysis, but most seem to require that one already has a good working
knowledge of the topic. I'm looking for something that would help me get up
to speed.

And if anyone would like to see my preliminary word frequency list, I'd be
happy to share.


Bernie Sloan
Senior Library Information Systems Consultant
University of Illinois Office for Planning and Budgeting
338 Henry Administration Building
506 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL  61801
Phone: (217) 333-4895
Fax:     (217) 265-0454
E-mail: bernies at uillinois.edu

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