Text Cloud of the Omphalos

Behold, my Omphalos as digested arithmetically (with some aesthetic treatments) by Jonathan Feinberg’s text cloud application over at Makes for a rather elegant visual poem, no? The wordle engine accepts site URLs, RSS feeds, or giant gobs of text. The latter is what I fed it after copying the source of my ATOM feed and removing all the links, html, and other xml cruft using NoteTab. Hat tip to Jamais Cascio over at Open the Future for sharing the coolness.

The application provides some control over the appearance of the cloud. You can configure how many words appear (I chose 200). There are also settings for the orientation of the words (vertical/horizontal), palette, and font choice.

Some comments. It doesn’t appear as if the wordle engine is context sensitive to words that appear in close proximity to each other; place names like Bond Hill and Baton Rouge are thus not recognized as such. It would also be nice if common words such as “like” and “also” could be filtered out or relegated to the background as glue for more significant nouns like “heierophant” and “cosmogonic”.

Still, looking into the world cloud as a mirror of my writing over the last three years or so is interesting. All those music related terms are surely the result of importing all the posts I made over at in 2006 and 2007. Should I be as surprised as I am that this blog is so “Jewish”? Probably not.

Joe Lamantia has written more about text clouds here. (A tag cloud with all the tags and catgories of articles posted at the Omphalos appears on the right sidebar.)

About Aharon N. Varady

Aharon's Omphalos is the hobbit hole of Aharon Varady, founding director of the Open Siddur Project. He is a community planner and environmental educator working to improve stewardship of the Public Domain, be it the physical and natural commons of urban park systems or the creative and cultural commons of libraries and museums. His advocacy for open-source strategies in the Jewish community has been written about in the Atlantic Magazine, the Yiddish Forverts, Tablet, and Haaretz. He is particularly interested in pedagogies for advancing ecological wisdom, developing creative and emotional intelligence, and realizing effective theurgical praxes. He welcomes your comments, personal messages, and kind words. If you find his work helpful to your own or you'd simply like to support him, please consider donating via his Patreon account.

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