The meaning of individual words can evolve over time. We use word embeddings to follow this evolution and to track the meaning of specific terms in relation to others in the corpus. The Word Meanings tool of quintessence allows you to search for any term in the corpus, and see a plot of that word's change. You can hover on the word at each decade to see its overall Similarity Score, as well as the other nearest terms in that decade. The word is also shown in context below the graphs.
Word embeddings are numerical representations of a word, generated by examining each word in the context of all other words in a corpus. This comparison allows words to be “mapped” as a point in a cloud of other words, with words clustered together in this could having similar meaning. By creating several of these clouds over time, we can see how individual words move in this “meaning space” and change over time.
Word meanings can also change with location, as local dialects change and adapt. Using the Most Similar Words (Location) tool, you can enter a term and find the most similar words by geographical location. These locations were created for each work by looking at the front matter included in each work, and adding the printing location as metadata to the work. There is similar functionality for finding word meaning by author, where the corpus is filtered to contain only works by prominent writers.