Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beautiful Word Clouds

I love working at IBM Research because there are cool things happening all over the place -- reminds me of being at a university lab in many ways. It's really fun, energizing, and, yes, even interns get paid to do it. One of those cool things, although officially a personal project supported by IBM, is Jonathan Feinberg's "Wordle", a beautiful, highly packed, word cloud, launched online today. Think tag clouds but more artistic.

In many ways, this Wordle is very similar to a visualization I have proposed, called an "author fingerprint visualization", in that it has a unique looking structure for each individual dataset and uses free text as input. From talking to Jonathan, however, it seems that his layout is random, and I would want something deterministic and stable, so that the same text would create the same or very similar images each time, like a real fingerprint! Also, Wordle uses simple word counts to determine sizes, whereas we have envisioned a series of measures based more on information content.

But, it's more beautiful than anything I could make, and the website, launched today, is just buzzing with activity. Check it out!

1 comment:

wayl said...

Hi there, i am building a net of my friendship neighbourhood, and, for sake of curiosity i would like to paint it in a graphical way. I know the prefuse tools, and i found there that just one code provides the possibility to put into evidence the strenght of the links between nodes.

That tools is your uncertainty lattices, but link in prefuse page is broken and i can't find that otherwhere on the internet, or your site. Could you help me to find it?

Thank you so much, and congratulation for you work!!