I spotted this source in an article from last week’s Sunday Torygraph – Kill the cliché.
It gives an insight into the most popular terms and expressions being used by the media at the moment (American media only as yet, unfortunately).
Aside from being a great place to go to observe just how easily journalists can trap themselves (and their thinking) in language, it also highlights something that affects anyone doing historical online research.
Just think of the keywords you put in Google to bring back content you are interested in. These terms are part and parcel of life today, but did they all exist 10, 20 or even 50 years ago?
At the BBC we have a database containing networked TV and Radio output going right the way back to the Reith era. Of course it’s all well and good having this source at your fingertips, but if you don’t think in the language and idioms of the eras in which you are searching (and in which this content may have been catalogued), you’ll quickly come unstuck.
All metadata is culturally relative, so it’s pretty important that we keep up to speed on language as it develops, and are mindful of the ways in which we use it to describe things. It would be fantastic if we could get a UK-centric system like this up and running…