Practicum: TIME Magazine Corpus of American English

What is it?

TIME Magazine Corpus Home Page

The TIME Magazine Corpus of American English is an online resource that allows users to search through 100 million words of text in roughly 275,000 articles of TIME Magazine from 1923 to 2006. The TIME Magazine corpus is part of a larger corpora of English created by Mark Davies, a professor of linguistics. It is primarily used as a research tool for users to locate words, phrases, and grammatical constructions, and see how American English has changed over time.

Getting Started

The website offers extremely helpful information for first time users on the home page and under the “Tour” tab. Tips on how to effectively search through the corpus and utilize all of its functions can be accessed in these locations. After registering for an account, users can go to the search tab and begin their research.


Once a word or phrase is submitted to the search engine, the results will show up under the “Frequency” tab. Here, users are provided with numerical information and a visual representation of how many times that word or phrase has shown up in TIME magazine since 1923. For example, searching the word “Annapolis,” shows us that TIME magazine mentioned it 783 times, most frequently during the 1940’s through the 1960’s.

“List” Search Option
Specialized Search Options

Users can also specialize their search. For example, using the “Chart” option shows the total frequency for each decade with a bar graph enabling users to visualize the popularity of a word in TIME. Another option for searching is “Collocates,” which allows users to see what words show up frequently near the word that was searched. There is also a search option to “Compare,” words and their frequency with other words. Finally, there is a “KWIC,” (Keyword in Context) option, which allows users to see words that occur directly to the left, and/or right of the word that was searched.

“Chart” Search Option
“Collocates” Search Option
“Compare” Search Option
“KWIC” Search Option


Once all of the results are shown, users can click on a date they want to see, and are taken to the “Context,” tab which shows a glimpse of how the article is using the word that was searched. For example, here we can see that “Annapolis,” was mentioned in an article written on December 12th, 1950, explaining that after 254 years, St. Johns College will be accepting women applicants for enrollment.

This free resource is a fantastic research tool for people interested in a particular subject, or simply the ways American English has changed over time. Users have the option to complete simple searches, or dive even deeper to explore the ways that words are used on their own, or in conjunction with other words. This varying level of sophistication makes it an accessible tool to a wide range of users.

Katie Campbell – Introduction

Hello – my name is Katie Campbell, and I am a second year graduate student in the Public History MA program. I am from Annapolis, MD and got my bachelors from Towson University where I majored in History and minored in Museum Studies. Growing up, my mother was an elementary school history teacher so I have had an interest in the past from a very young age. However, it was not until I started taking history courses in undergrad, that I realized how biased, mythicized, racist, sexist (the list goes on) the dominant historical narrative is in the U.S. I wanted my life’s work to revolve around shifting the popular narrative, helping amplify previously silenced voices, and making space for every perspective on U.S. history. This dream inspired me to get involved in public history, specifically in interpretation and museum education.

Some notable work I completed as an undergraduate includes an internship with Historic Annapolis at the William Paca House and Garden where I worked alongside the curator and learned a lot about the important work that goes into accessioning, deaccessioning, protecting objects, constantly being on top of the historical research regarding your organization, location, or institution, and interpreting objects for the public. I was also hired by Towson’s history department as a research assistant, and worked in the archives doing research on TU’s Black student body and faculty in a effort to create a more comprehensive historical narrative of the university. Additionally, I completed an independent study on Baltimore museums and their interpretation of Black history from Fred Wilson’s 1992-3 exhibition Mining the Museum, at the MD Historical Society, to the present day.

At American University, I have had the privilege to work with amazing professors, peers, and DC organizations such as the DC History Center. In this class, I look forward to continuing acquiring new skills, and broadening my historical interests. As someone who is not tech savvy, I am eager to learn about the digital components of historical interpretation, and feel confident in my ability to use them in my career moving forward. Outside of academia, I work at the library in my hometown, enjoy thrifting, exploring new places, cooking, and crafting! I look forward to getting to know and working with all of you this semester!