Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Visualizing the Standards: Interactive Wordles

I've also posted the following Wordle on the Many Eyes website based on the text of the 2002 standards. The Wordle algorithm uses the freqency of a term to determine the relative size of a word as in other tag clouds but it also enables the placement of smaller words in the spaces between and within letters of the larger words. The results are much more varied than standard tag clouds and can create typographic images which remind me of Dadaism in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Futurism in the 1920s and 1930s, California alternative publications in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the work of David Carson in the 1990s. Although Wordle was designed to be a playful image generator (often refered to as a "toy") rather than an analytical technique, it is frequently used as a visual communication tool. The following Wordle was selected because the image reminds me of the thought bubbles in a cartoon and implies an institution thinking about the themes of the standards. The size, placement, and coloring of the terms can also suggest some of the thoughts of an institution "under" the standards ("institutional learning services student," "services support mission," "board provides planning," "planning outcomes effective," etc.).

Thoughtful Institution Wordle:

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