I’m sure I’m pretty late to the party on this one, but what a great tool for researching social trends – Google Ngram viewer.
Search occurrences of words in books published over the past 200 years. Although obviously it is only the books scanned by Googles Books Project (a pretty amazing thing in it self).
Even better you can compare occurrences of different words. To me this seems like a great way to search and understand social trends over an extend time frame (i.e. before the internet)
Here is my comparison of art vs design, (design in blue) interestingly since the late 70s design has begun to be mentioned more frequently – what does this mean?
It’s also worth doing the same comparison on Google Trends and also Blog Pluse to get an idea of trends right now.