There is a 2.0 version of this project. Please visit it in order to get a sense of the current form of this online work. What follows below is the content of the first version as it was originally written.Note that the APIs of this version do not function or are likely to be disabled by Google in the near future. This version was uploaded on February 2, and was superceded by Version 2.0 on July 2, 2016.
"Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society" is an online project which takes all of the terms that Raymond Williams published in his book Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Oxford, 1976), and provides the top search results on Google. The results can be viewed in groups (A - C, D - H, I- N, O - R, and S - W) or individually by clicking on any term to the left. The principle behind this project is to evaluate how the terms Williams considered important in order to understand culture and society in the middle of the twentieth century currently flow on the Web.
Williams initially organized his list of keywords to be included in his publication Culture and Society: 1780 - 1950 (Columbia, 1958). According to the introduction in the most recent edition of Keywords, due to the length of Culture and Society, editors advised Williams not to include the list of terms. It would be twenty years later that his keywords would become a proper publication. Williams’s Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society foresaw issues relevant in contemporary fields of research, including the need to organize specialized terms that go beyond basic dictionary definitions for a better understanding of a particular subject of research. In effect, Williams developed a new interdisciplinary method that could be used by any well-established or new field of research. He makes evident his awareness of such a contribution in the introduction to his Keywords, in which he explains that his definitions would crossover to various specializations beyond the literary community.
Williams was also aware that his analysis was very "English" meaning that it pertained to how British culture viewed itself in relation to the rest of the world. By creating API links to the keywords he initially set out to define as sole author, I aim to offer an alternative way of evaluating how these terms are currently understood according to search results that may no longer be directly linked to British culture, but to the English language as a global form of communication for many cultures; granted that the results are tailored by Google to the localities from which the online project is accessed.
In 2015, I began working on a keywords book along with fellow editors xtine burrough and Owen Gallagher titled Keywords in Remix Studies, to be published by Routledge some time in 2017. As I did research for this collaboration, I studied Williams's methodological approach, and in effect, during the Fall of 2015, I decided to teach the book as part of my class, "Introduction to Digital Art and Design Criticism" part of the Interdisciplinary Digital Studio Program (IDS) in the School of Visual Arts (SoVA), Penn State. We discussed entries from the book always considering how Williams's definition may be relevant in contemporary times. It was quite interesting to note how some terms had taken unexpected shifts in meaning, and based on this, I thought of developing this online project, "Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society."
"Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society" presents the current flow online of Williams's terms according to Google's search results. But this project has a major limitation. It uses a web search API script, which Google decided to deprecate in 2010. The reason for the deprecation was to encourage customized searches that if past a quota would entail monetary charges to the person implementing the script. Some of the early API scripts are no longer working. These include local, image and patent. APIs for video, web, news, and books, which are included in the current version of this project are still functional; but will likely not work in the future, at which point this project will no longer function, and may come to an end. Or rather enter another stage as a "disfunctional" Web project.
And in this way "Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society" becomes a commentary on the imposed drive to incessantly keep up with the ongoing development of technology; a process that is not completely based on need, but on the premise to stay relevant.
Another reason, which is of most importance to me, is that all of my web projects usually come to an end. In the past, I have decided to stop working on a project based on some predetermined premise that made sense for that project, or a technological development that changed the context of the project. For Diary of a Star, it was when I finished reblogging and writing about selections from Andy Warhol's Diaries, for Trabeblog, it was when it became evident to me that the obfuscation of the software that supposedly hid one's activity online was no longer effective, and for Minima Moralia Redux (still active) will be when I finish visualizing all of the entries in Adorno's Minima Moralia. In the case of "Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society," the project will likely come to an end when all of the APIs are no longer functional. But given that art is a process, something may develop between now and then that may change the next stage of this project.