January 25, 2007

Tag clouds are hot today

Filed under: map, politics — ubikcan @ 3:14 pm

A tag cloud is a swarm of words, proportionally sized to frequency of occurrence. For example, here is the tag cloud from Amazon (or concordance as they call it) for a well-known history of geography. It includes the top 100 most frequently used words:


So today this idea was developed further by two more tag clouds: one of Bush’s SOTU, and one of Jim Webb’s response (you may remember that Webb won in Virginia after the expected winner George Allen deconstructed surrounding the macaca incident, thus putting the Dems over the top and taking the Senate).

What these don’t do is show linkages between concepts (they’re arranged alphabetically). An improvement would be something called MDS–multidimensional scaling, which would map the words according to how closely they were mentioned together.

Here is an MDS I found of car similarities:

Here the more similar the car, the closer it is in the MDS space (reduced to 2 dimensions of course).

These are all kinds of maps.


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