Monday, February 16, 2009
Wordle, http://www.wordle.net/, is a fun site which will "translate" a block of text into a graphic representation. The most frequently appearing words appear the largest. One can choose from different designs and color schemes, but the word frequency is the real point of interest.
It's somewhat similar to the "word train" the NYT website recently premiered. As described by New York magazine:
On the day Barack Obama was elected, a strange new feature appeared on the website of the New York Times. Called the Word Train, it asked a simple question: What one word describes your current state of mind? Readers could enter an adjective or select from a menu of options. They could specify whether they supported McCain or Obama. Below, the results appeared in six rows of adjectives, scrolling left to right, coded red or blue, descending in size of font. The larger the word, the more people felt that way.
All day long, the answers flowed by, a river of emotion—anonymous, uncheckable, hypnotic. You could click from Obama to McCain and watch the letters shift gradually from blue to red, the mood changing from giddy, energized, proud, and overwhelmed to horrified, ambivalent, disgusted, and numb.
It was a kind of poll. It was a kind of art piece. It was a kind of journalism, but what kind?
Wordle brings this "journalism" or "art" to the masses.
It's easy to access and can be fun diversion for your class syllabus, not to mention your most recent draft of an article.
This is a "wordle" of the United States Constitution, available here.
Happy Presidents' Day!