Like Tag Clouds and Word Trees, Wordles are one more way to visualize textual content. Wordles are similar to tag clouds in that both illuminate the frequency with with which words appear in a given text and both display a specific word in a size proportional to the quantity associated with that word, which, in the case of free text (in this instance, the lyrics of the set of Leonard Cohen songs) is the word count.
And, as is true with tag clouds, one can tweak wordles by choosing different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.
Many Eyes, the web site that is home to the mechanisms that produce these word trees. tag clouds, and wordles, explains the difference between wordles and tag clouds: The layout algorithm [of wordles] differs from most other word clouds (including the Many Eyes tag cloud) in its efficient use of typographical space. An entire tiny word may appear inside the letter “O” of a big word, for example.
Quick Start Instructions To View The Wordle
Click in the large box above to start the interactive software. A wordle displaying the frequency with which words appear in the lyrics of Cohen songs will emerge.
More detailed information about the wordle and the Leonard Cohen Lyrics database is available below.
More Information About Word Clouds
The following excerpts are from Many Eyes:
The size of a word is proportional to the quantity associated with that word, which, in the case of free text, is the word count. For instance, if your text consists of the words “apple apple apple banana banana papaya”, then “banana” will appear in a font size twice that of “papaya”, and “apple” will appear in a font size 3/2 as large as “banana.”
Wordle draws each word at a size proportional to its frequency. By default, the visualization treats different letter cases (“Hello” vs. “hello”) as different words and filters out common words (such as “the”). The “Language” menu lets you adjust these settings.
If you choose to use the two-column format, Wordle interprets the text column as words, and the numeric column as word frequency.
In free text, you can use either the Unicode “non-breaking space” character, \u00A0, or the tilde character ~ between words that you wish to keep together. The tilde will be converted to a space when drawing the words, and the words will be treated as a single word when counting.
Wordle was was first published by Jonathan Feinberg on wordle.net. It was designed to give pleasure, and not to provide reliable analytic insight. That said, many people have found unexpected uses for it, from presenting the “gist” of a text to displaying personal identity.
The Leonard Cohen Lyrics Data Set Description
The data set used to generate these word trees includes all lyrics and titles from albums released by Leonard Cohen.
The albums are listed in chronological order and songs within each album are listed in the database in the same order as the album’s track list.
The database does not include bootleg albums, the Blue Alert album (soon to be available as independent data set), or songs distributed in formats other than albums (e.g., “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” which was only issued as a 45 rpm single). Words from album titles (e.g., “Ten New Songs”), credits and dedications are also not included.
The software works via Java. Consequently, Java must be enabled on the computer and in the browser. Because of the way Java is managed, Mac users will find that the Wordle is best viewed on Safari rather than other browsers.