TagCrowd, created by Daniel Steinbock at Stanford University, is a clever new web application for visualizing word frequencies by creating a tag cloud (or text cloud). It’s fun to play with and has a number of interesting possible uses.
I made the one on the right from a selection of Emily Dickinson poems. One thing that stands out is her use of the word “stop,” as in:
Not In Vain
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Tag clouds provide a visualization for navigation on Web 2.0 sites with user-generated metadata (tags) as on this blog. TagCrowd enables this for any text file, by automatically generating tags. You could give it the file name for a secret document you’ve just found, tell it the url for your favorite news website, or paste in the text from the novel you’re writing.
The application can be used in various ways (list from the TagCrowd site):
- as topic summaries for speeches and written works
- for visual analysis of survey data
- as brand clouds that let companies see how they are perceived by the world
- for data mining a text corpus
- for helping writers and students reflect on their work
- as name tags for conferences, cocktail parties or wherever new collaborations start
- as resumes in a single glance
- as visual poetry
See the tag cloud for my own cv on the left above. What strikes me there is how I need words of four and five syllables, when Emily Dickinson could say so much in words of one syllable! Stop.
I like Wordle (http://wordle.net/) – they look so pretty! 🙂