Daily Archives: June 25, 2008

Word Clouds from Wordle: Laurence Sterne, Sentimental Journey

I have nothing profound to say about this, except click on the teeny word-cloud, and you’ll see one of my favorite passages of Sterne’s.  My thanks to Wordle for the nifty re-experience of Sterne’s “text.”


UPDATE: Though my first reaction to Wordle was, “What a neat toy!” Mercurius Politicus (referencing Lisa Spiro‘s Digital Scholarship in the Humanities) shows us how to use Wordle as a tool for catching key concepts in primary texts.

My suspicion is that a tool like this would be most useful in generating useful clusters of concepts in primary texts, and developing secondary or supplemental keywords that you could use to generate additional keywords for additional searching.  So, for example, in the Civil-War era pamphleteer Henry Walker, “Drogheda” appears much more prominently in the word-cloud than in the DNB biography.  So the word-cloud becomes another, and interestingly non-textual, point of entry into the Walker corpus than what we might have found pre-Wordle.

Nice job, Mercurius Politicus.