Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Blog As A Word Cloud

A "word or tag cloud" is a graphical representation of how frequently words are used. In most examples the relative sizes of the words are correlated with the frequency of their use in the document, speech or as in the example to the left, our blog posts from the last year.

A few very bright folks, like New York Times “senior software architect and news hacker” Jacob Harris and “Big Web Show” host Jeffrey Zeldman, don’t think much of word clouds.  As far back as 2005, Zeldman famously referred to them as “mullets of the Internet”I agree with Harris. If the goal is telling a complex story, word clouds are a poor choice. They're divorced from the underlying narrative and require explanation to reveal context. Thankfully, the people who run community justice projects like the Harlem Community Justice Center, the Midtown Community Court, Bronx Community Solutions, the Red Hook Community Justice Center are writing about court and community-based innovations that help transform the lives of offenders, improve public safety and increase the public's confidence in the courts. You can learn more by following the links listed under "Blogs we follow" or visiting the Center for Court Innovation website.

But if you’re interests are limited to word usage, a word cloud is worth a shot. Besides, they look pretty snazzy on a t-shirt.

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