Tag clouds on the move

Yesterday, I discussed Wordle. Today, I came across a related tool, TagCrowd:

TagCrowd is a web application for visualizing word frequencies in any user-supplied text by creating what is popularly known as a tag cloud or text cloud.

TagCrowd is taking tag clouds far beyond their original function:

  • 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

Interestingly, both tools seem to indicate the growing realization that tag clouds have many more uses than their original, narrow application for indicating blog topic frequencies. A good example of the how tools often get used for very different purposes than what they were originally designed for!

Another application of “serious tagging” is not to use one tag cloud for various purposes, but to compare tag clouds.  Lilia Efimova gives a nice illustration of how she compared the tag clouds of her blog posts and a dissertation chapter on the same topic. Another comparison is to see how different tag cloud tools process the same text. Here’s the TagCrowd interpretation of the CommunitySense home page:

Quite a diffferent look and feel from the one provided by Wordle, right? It would be interesting to come up with visualization criteria which provide the best type of tag cloud for the particular purpose for which they are used.

Word (art) clouds

A friend pointed out Wordle to me, which “is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.”

I tried it out with the text on the CommunitySense home page:

Apart from truly being a piece of art and aesthetically pleasing, such “tag clouds ++” should have real business applications. It would be interesting to see how, say, a 100 page report would look like and whether its visualization could help in quickly grasping some of its essential meaning.

Schomer Simpson’s Talk at the 1st Second Life (Inworld) Conference

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Below the gallery that contains the pictures taken by Al Mohr (Second Life) / Aldo de Moor (Real Life) of Schomer Simpson ‘s (Second Life) / Peter Twining’s (Real Life) presentation at the Second Life Best Practices in Education International Conference 2007. The topic was “Using Teen Second Life to Explore Visions of Schome (Not School-Not Home-Schome, the Education System for the Information Age)”. As you can see from the pictures, Schomer/Peter’s talk was very well attended. The issues raised were most interesting and he got lots of questions. The Era of Immersive Online Conferences has begun…

Picture gallery

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