Tag cloud

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A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.0

A tag cloud or word cloud (or weighted list in visual design) is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, used typically to describe the content of web sites. Tags are usually single words and are typically listed alphabetically, and the importance of a tag is shown with font size or color.[1] Thus both finding a tag by alphabet and by popularity is possible. The tags are usually hyperlinks that lead to a collection of items that are associated with a tag.


[edit] History

The first use of tag clouds on a high-profile website was on the photo sharing site Flickr, created by Flickr co-founder and interaction designer Stewart Butterfield.[2] That implementation was based[citation needed] on Jim Flanagan's Search Referral Zeitgeist,[3] a visualization of Web site referrers. Tag clouds have also been popularized by Del.icio.us and Technorati, among others.

The first published appearance of a tag cloud (or at least a weighted list) in the English language may have been as the "subconscious files" in Douglas Coupland's Microserfs (1995)[citation needed]; a German appearance occurred at least three years earlier.[4]

Prior to weighted list representation of tag clouds, paper maps had used the concept of weighted font size and font weights to represent relative size or importance of towns and cities.[citation needed]

On 24 March 2009, CNN created what they claimed was the "largest word cloud in the free world" for that nights Anderson Cooper 360°. It was a word cloud of President Obama's address to the press earlier that day.[citation needed]

[edit] Types

A data cloud showing the population of each of the world's countries. Color visually separates the countries, font size indicates 2007 population.

There are three main types of tag cloud applications in social software, distinguished by their meaning rather than appearance.[citation needed] In the first type, there is a tag cloud for each item whereas in the second type, we have global tag clouds where the frequencies are aggregated over all items and users.

In the first type, size represents the number of times that tag has been applied to a single item.[5] This is useful as a means of displaying metadata about an item that has been democratically 'voted' on and where precise results are not desired. Examples of such use include Last.fm (to indicate genres attributed to bands) and LibraryThing (to indicate tags attributed to a book).

In the second, more commonly used type,[citation needed] size represents the number of items to which a tag has been applied, as a presentation of each tag's popularity. Examples of this type of tag cloud are used on the image-hosting service Flickr and the blog aggregator Technorati.

In the third type, tags are used as a categorization method for content items. Tags are represented in a cloud where larger tags represent the quantity of content items in that category.

More generally, the same visual technique can be used to display non-tag data[6], as in a word cloud or a data cloud.

[edit] Visual appearance

A data cloud showing stock price movement. Color indicates positive or negative change, font size indicates percentage change.

Tag clouds are typically represented using inline HTML elements. The tags can appear in alphabetical order, in a random order, they can be sorted by weight, and so on. Some prefer to cluster the tags semantically[7][8][9] so that similar tags will appear near each other. Heuristics can be used to reduce the size of the tag cloud whether or not the purpose is to cluster the tags.[8]

[edit] Data clouds

A data cloud or cloud data is a data display which uses font size and/or color to indicate numerical values[10] It is similar to a tag cloud[11] but instead of word count, displays data such as population or stock market prices.

[edit] Text clouds

A text cloud or word cloud is a visualization of word frequency in a given text as a weighted list.[12] The technique has recently been popularly used to visualize the topical content of political speeches.[13]

[edit] Collocate clouds

Extending the principles of a text cloud, a collocate cloud provides a more focused view of a document or corpus. Instead of summarising an entire document, the collocate cloud examines the usage of a particular word. The resulting cloud contains the words which are often used in conjunction with the search word. These collocates are formatted to show frequency (as size) as well as collocational strength (as brightness). This provides interactive ways to browse and explore language.[14]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Martin Halvey and Mark T. Keane, An Assessment of Tag Presentation Techniques, poster presentation at WWW 2007, 2007
  2. ^ Paul Bausch, Jim Bumgardner (2006). "Make a Flickr-Style Tag Cloud". Flickr Hacks. O'Reilly Press. ISBN 0596102453. http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/flickrhks/chapter/hack14.pdf. 
  3. ^ A copy of Jim Flanagan's Search Referral Zeitgeist was available at archive.org but has since been blocked. In the comments of a blog entry, a user identified as Steve Minutillo attribute the idea to Jim Flanagan, stating that Flanagan's site had such displays in 2002.
  4. ^ Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari (1992). Tausend Plateaus. Kapitalismus und Schizophrenie. ISBN 3883960942. 
  5. ^ Bielenberg, K. and Zacher, M., Groups in Social Software: Utilizing Tagging to Integrate Individual Contexts for Social Navigation, Masters Thesis submitted to the Program of Digital Media, Universitaet Bremen (2006)
  6. ^ Kamel Aouiche, Daniel Lemire, Robert Godin, Collaborative OLAP with Tag Clouds: Web 2.0 OLAP Formalism and Experimental Evaluation, WEBIST 2008, 2008.
  7. ^ Hassan-Montero, Y., Herrero-Solana, V. Improving Tag-Clouds as Visual Information Retrieval Interfaces
  8. ^ a b Owen Kaser and Daniel Lemire, Tag-Cloud Drawing: Algorithms for Cloud Visualization, Tagging and Metadata for Social Information Organization (WWW 2007), 2007
  9. ^ Salonen, J. 2007. Self-organising map based tag clouds - Creating spatially meaningful representations of tagging data. Proceedings of the 1st OPAALS conference, 26-27 November 2007, Rome, Italy.
  10. ^ Apel, Warren. "ManyEyes Visualization and Commentary: World Population Data Cloud.". http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/view/SIk76IsOtha6qFGgix3cI2-. Retrieved on 2007-08-26. 
  11. ^ Wattenberg, Martin. "ManyEyes Visualization: Ad cloud". http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/view/Sh3S9FsOtha6OdUrBNWFF2-. Retrieved on 2007-03-12. 
  12. ^ Lamantia, Joe. "Text Clouds: A New Form of Tag Cloud?". http://www.joelamantia.com/blog/archives/tag_clouds/text_clouds_a_new_form_of_tag_cloud.html. Retrieved on 2008-09-11. 
  13. ^ Mehta, Chirag. "US Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud". http://chir.ag/phernalia/preztags/. Retrieved on 2008-09-11. 
  14. ^ "Collocate cloud". http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/corpus/search/collocatecloud.php. Retrieved on 2008-12-05. 

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