I've just come across a new site called BookLamp, a project started by Novel Ideas, a quiet little 3-year-old tech company that's just beginning to draw attention.
Novel Ideas have spent the last number years coming up with a way to suggest a new title based on a number of details in the book.
This probably looks like another book recommendation site, but their system goes far beyond any other recommendation engine I've heard of. They've worked out deals with some publishers to scan the contents of books so they could analyze them and identify key components. that Novel Ideas are calling BookDNA. They've now classified over 32 thousand different details that can be found in a book. Booklamp is free to use, and it currently covers around 20 thousand titles.
Now, if you ask me the more interesting detail is theitself. I wonder if the could be used to study the influence that one author has on another? I don't know if you could prove the influence but it would be interesting to try. And now that I've thought about it for a bit, I wonder of the might also be used to track plagiarism among university students. I know that a lot of schools contract out for an anti-plagiarism service, and this project could probably be used as the basis for such a service.