Friday, January 30, 2009

Wordle to Create a Visual Cluster of Concepts

I celebrated my birthday on January 20th. What a day! The entire day, I felt like a surfer riding a never-ending wave, thrilled and exuberant. Sitting with a large UCSF crowd on campus, I watched President Obama's swearing in and Inaugural Address . The celebration that day didn't stop until I finally turned off the tv after NightLine.

So what's this big prelude leading to? I wanted to share a novel tool called Wordle that allows you to paste in any text and have it create a visual representation, called a word cloud, of the major themes of the content. I tried Wordle out for the first time by pasting in the transcript of Obama's Inaugural Address. Below is the word cloud generated.



Creating the word cloud is very easy:

(1) Go to http://www.wordle.net & select the Create link at the top
(2) Paste in text or the URL of the site you want to Wordle
(3) Select Go or Submit
(4) When the word cloud is generated, you can change the layout, font, and color

I also created a word cloud of an abstract for the article below:

Dunn, LB, Iglewicz, A, & Moutier, C. (2008). A conceptual model of medical student well-being: promoting resilience and preventing burnout. Academic psychiatry, 32(1), 44-53.


Have fun with Wordle! It paints a picture that gives words an extra dimension.

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