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Tell me how you write and I'll tell you what you read: a study on the writing style of book reviews

Chiara Alzetta (Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale Antonio Zampolli Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Pisa, Italy)
Felice Dell'Orletta (Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale Antonio Zampolli Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Pisa, Italy)
Alessio Miaschi (Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale Antonio Zampolli Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Pisa, Italy)
Elena Prat (Le Mans Universite, Le Mans, France)
Giulia Venturi (Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale Antonio Zampolli Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Pisa, Italy)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 22 June 2023

Issue publication date: 2 January 2024

201

Abstract

Purpose

The authors’ goal is to investigate variations in the writing style of book reviews published on different social reading platforms and referring to books of different genres, which enables acquiring insights into communication strategies adopted by readers to share their reading experiences.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors propose a corpus-based study focused on the analysis of A Good Review, a novel corpus of online book reviews written in Italian, posted on Amazon and Goodreads, and covering six literary fiction genres. The authors rely on stylometric analysis to explore the linguistic properties and lexicon of reviews and the authors conducted automatic classification experiments using multiple approaches and feature configurations to predict either the review's platform or the literary genre.

Findings

The analysis of user-generated reviews demonstrates that language is a quite variable dimension across reading platforms, but not as much across book genres. The classification experiments revealed that features modelling the syntactic structure of the sentence are reliable proxies for discerning Amazon and Goodreads reviews, whereas lexical information showed a higher predictive role for automatically discriminating the genre.

Originality/value

The high availability of cultural products makes information services necessary to help users navigate these resources and acquire information from unstructured data. This study contributes to a better understanding of the linguistic characteristics of user-generated book reviews, which can support the development of linguistically-informed recommendation services. Additionally, the authors release a novel corpus of online book reviews meant to support the reproducibility and advancements of the research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This work was supported by the Institut d'Études Européennes et Globales Alliance Europa - Bourse d'Environment de thèse 2020 to Elena Prat and by the “Letture pER TE'' (LettERE) project funded by Regione Toscana (Fondo per lo Sviluppo e la Coesione FSC 2021) in collaboration with Meta srl company.

Citation

Alzetta, C., Dell'Orletta, F., Miaschi, A., Prat, E. and Venturi, G. (2024), "Tell me how you write and I'll tell you what you read: a study on the writing style of book reviews", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 80 No. 1, pp. 180-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-04-2023-0073

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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