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RE: [mythsoc] A question about a claim in _Tolkien on Film_

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  • Croft, Janet B.
    I recall hearing Susan s figures questioned when she presented part of her paper at a Pop Culture conference, and she recreated her search strategy for us, but
    Message 1 of 7 , May 1, 2006
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      I recall hearing Susan's figures questioned when she presented part of
      her paper at a Pop Culture conference, and she recreated her search
      strategy for us, but I don't remember exactly what she said. I think the
      figures in her final paper were actually revised downward in light of
      that discussion. Obviously, you aren't the first to question her
      figures, and her paper would have been stronger, in retrospect, if I had
      asked her to describe her search strategy rather than simply accepting
      what she said. She was at the time an academic librarian, so I probably
      trusted too much that her strategy was sound (however, she recently quit
      her job shortly before her tenure review came up -- not a good sign). I
      would agree that Amy is a far more careful and trustworthy scholar. Her
      article in the current Mythlore on Rosie Cotton fan fiction is equally
      well done (though, mea culpa, there is a typo I didn't catch before it
      went to print -- sorry, Joan!).


      Janet Brennan Croft


      -----Original Message-----
      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of WendellWag@...
      Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 11:53 AM
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [mythsoc] A question about a claim in _Tolkien on Film_

      I'm reading _Tolkien on Film: Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord of the
      Rings_ at the moment. In Susan Booker's essay "Tales around the
      Internet
      Campfire: Fan Fiction in Tolkien's Universe", she makes the following
      statement:

      > At the time this essay was completed in early 2004, a quick Google
      > search
      revealed . . .
      > _Lord of the Rings_ fan fiction, 354,000 [websites] . . .

      She makes various similar claims throughout the article. O.K., how can
      someone use Google to find the total number of websites containing any
      particular genre of writing? She could be just putting the words
      "Tolkien" and "fan fiction" (or maybe "fanfiction") into Google and
      giving the number of websites that it reports contain these words.
      Indeed, if I put "Tolkien" and "fan fiction" into Google today, it
      tells me that it finds 586,000 websites. It would be reasonable to
      think that in early 2004 it might tell us that it found 354,000
      websites. (Note the rounding to the nearest thousand in each case.) Of
      course, this doesn't mean at all that most of these websites are
      Tolkien fan fiction. Most of them just happen to mention the words
      "Tolkien" and "fan fiction". I don't know of any automatic way to find
      websites of a particular genre without picking up a lot of them that
      only mention the genre.

      In the next article in the book "Make Mine "Movieverse": How the Tolkien
      Fan Fiction Community Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Peter Jackson"
      by Amy Sturgis, Sturgis makes smaller and better researched claims. She
      talks about how many stories there are on specific websites. She
      doesn't make any claims about the overall numbers but only tries to
      distinguish between the various sorts of fan fiction.

      Wendell Wagner


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



      The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org Yahoo! Groups
      Links
    • Stolzi
      ... From: John D Rateliff To: Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 11:32 PM Subject: [mythsoc] a Tolkien cartoon
      Message 2 of 7 , May 1, 2006
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "John D Rateliff" <sacnoth@...>
        To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 11:32 PM
        Subject: [mythsoc] a Tolkien cartoon


        >A friend sent me this on Thursday.
        >
        > http://members.comics.com/members/common/
        > affiliateArchive.do;jsessionid=cevooEDILjGh?
        > site=seattle&comic=brevity&stripId=264399

        May be easier:

        http://tinyurl.com/oy5a2
      • Michael Martinez
        ... Technically, Google is only reporting pages , not sites . A site may have thousands of pages. A page may be all there is to a site. Furthermore, Google
        Message 3 of 7 , May 3, 2006
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          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, WendellWag@... wrote:
          >
          > I'm reading _Tolkien on Film: Essays on Peter Jackson's The Lord
          > of the Rings_ at the moment. In Susan Booker's essay "Tales
          > around the Internet Campfire: Fan Fiction in Tolkien's Universe",
          > she makes the following statement:
          >
          > > At the time this essay was completed in early 2004, a quick
          > > Google search revealed . . . _Lord of the Rings_ fan fiction,
          > > 354,000 [websites] . . .
          >
          > She makes various similar claims throughout the article. O.K.,
          > how can someone use Google to find the total number of websites
          > containing any particular genre of writing? She could be just
          > putting the words "Tolkien" and "fan fiction" (or
          > maybe "fanfiction") into Google and giving the number of websites
          > that it reports contain these words. Indeed, if I put "Tolkien"
          > and "fan fiction" into Google today, it tells me that it finds
          > 586,000 websites. It would be reasonable to think that in early
          > 2004 it might tell us that it found 354,000 websites. (Note the
          > rounding to the nearest thousand in each case.)
          >
          > Of course, this doesn't mean at all that most of these websites
          > are Tolkien fan fiction. Most of them just happen to mention the
          > words "Tolkien" and "fan fiction". I don't know of any automatic
          > way to find websites of a particular genre without picking up a
          > lot of them that only mention the genre.

          Technically, Google is only reporting "pages", not "sites". A site
          may have thousands of pages. A page may be all there is to a site.

          Furthermore, Google will include in those results any pages that
          have links pointing to them which contain one or more of the
          words "tolkien", "fan", "fiction", "fanfiction" in the anchor text.

          She could have narrowed the search by forcing an EXACT FIND search
          by putting quotes around the text. I get about 1700 hits today when
          I do that, but who knows how many of those pages actually just
          mention "tolkien fan fiction"? I get about 562 hits for "middle-
          earth fan fiction" and 10,400 hits for "lord of the rings fan
          fiction".

          But Google does not index the entire Web. There is probably far
          more out there that Google hasn't found (as well as stuff it has
          crawled but not added to the visible index).

          > In the next article in the book "Make Mine "Movieverse": How the
          > Tolkien Fan Fiction Community Learned to Stop Worrying and Love
          > Peter Jackson" by Amy Sturgis, Sturgis makes smaller and better
          > researched claims. She talks about how many stories there are on
          > specific websites. She doesn't make any claims about the overall
          > numbers but only tries to distinguish between the various sorts of
          > fan fiction.

          It would, actually, be possible to compile a fairly extensive list
          of sites which host Tolkien fan fiction. I believe you would indeed
          find thousands of stories out there. The 2005 MEFA Awards
          (http://gabrielle.sytes.net/MEFA2005/) had, if I recall correctly,
          several hundred submissions. Some of them were non-fiction (one of
          my readers actually nominated a fair selection of my own essays, but
          most were disallowed because I was paid to write them). But the
          project promotes fan fiction primarily.

          It may never be possible to search for all Tolkien-inspired fan
          fiction, as many people will use words we wouldn't necessarily think
          of as the most important descriptors for their stories.

          --
          Michael Martinez
          http://www.michael-martinez.com/
          http://michael-martinez.blogspot.com/
          "Cuando Maria canta, ella canta para mí"
        • WendellWag@aol.com
          In a message dated 5/3/2006 7:32:38 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, Michaelm@xenite.org writes: It would, actually, be possible to compile a fairly extensive list
          Message 4 of 7 , May 3, 2006
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            In a message dated 5/3/2006 7:32:38 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
            Michaelm@... writes:

            It would, actually, be possible to compile a fairly extensive list
            of sites which host Tolkien fan fiction. I believe you would indeed
            find thousands of stories out there.


            I wasn't questioning that there are thousands of such stories out there.
            Indeed, in Amy Sturgis's paper, she mentions several specific websites which
            include a count of how many such stories they include, and the total of these
            websites is already well into the thousands. The only thing I was questioning
            is whether it's possible to use Google to find anything like a reasonable
            count of them, and for reasons that I gave and further reasons that you have
            given, it's not useful for that purpose.

            Wendell Wagner


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          • Jay Hershberger
            Dear Mythsoc-ers, I have an old question to pose. Can any of you point me toward credible and reflective articles that: 1) charge Tolkien and his fiction with
            Message 5 of 7 , May 4, 2006
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              Dear Mythsoc-ers,

              I have an old question to pose. Can any of you point me toward credible
              and reflective articles that: 1) charge Tolkien and his fiction with
              racism, and
              2) defend Tolkien and his fiction from that charge?

              I am in the process of preparing a class on Tolkien for first-semester
              freshmen that would serve as an introductory course on the liberal arts.
              Although I am music professor-I teach piano-I am also interested in
              teaching outside of my discipline as a means of making connections with
              other facets of the liberal arts tradition. While I have my own opinion
              on the subject of Tolkien and race (he was not a racist, nor is his
              fiction guilty of perpetuating it), I would like to be able to present
              to students thoughtful and informed arguments on both sides of the
              issue, and perhaps learn a little more about the literature on this
              particular topic for purposes of potential research essays for students.
              Any thoughts?

              Thanks for your time.

              Cheers,

              Jay Hershberger, DMA
              Associate Professor of Piano
              Concordia College (ELCA)
              Moorhead, MN




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