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Algorithm, not live committee, performs author ranking

Posted November 21, 2014

Thousands of authors’ works enter the public domain each year, but only a small number of them end up being widely available. So how to choose the ones taking center-stage? And how well can a machine-learning algorithm rank the most notable authors in the world? Allen B. Riddell at Dartmouth College set out to deliver some answers and he published his work, “Public Domain Rank: Identifying Notable Individuals with the Wisdom of the Crowd”, on the ArXiv server.

Algorithm, not live committee, performs author ranking

Coefficients of the regression of the presence of a digital edition on selected features. Credit: arXiv:1411.2180 [cs.DL]

Riddell recognizes that identifying literary, scientific, and technical works of enduring interest is challenging. MIT Technology Review, reporting on emerging technology from the ArXiv, similarly noted how deciding which books to digitize when they enter the public domain is tricky unless you have an independent ranking of the most notable authors.

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