Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yet another baby!

Many Eyes has just released a brand new baby for us to delight ourselves with. We're all very familiar with the Word Tree and the Tag Cloud and Wordle features and I for one couldn't help to wonder what would happen if the clouds met the trees. Well, always one step ahead, folks at VCL have answered that question! Let's have a look...

When to use a Phrase Net

A phrase net diagrams the relationships between different words used in a text. It uses a simple form of pattern matching to provide multiple views of the concepts contained a book, speech, or poem. [...] The program [draws] a network of words, where two words are connected if they appear together in a phrase of the form "X and Y"

How Phrase Net works

Phrase net analyzes a text by looking for pairs of words that fit particular patterns. You can specify this pattern by using asterisks as wildcard characters. For instance, the pattern "* and *" will match phrases like "play and sing" or "vexation and regret." Punctuation matters, so it will not match "left, and then". You can choose from some useful defaults or you can type your own patterns in the field below the list.

Once you've specified a pattern, the program will create a network diagram of the words it found as matches. Two words will be connected if they occurred in the same phrase. The size of a word is proportional to the number of times it occurred in a match; the thickness of an arrow between words tells you how many times those two words occurred in the same phrase. The color of a word indicates whether it was more likely to be found in the first of second slot of a pattern. The darker the word, the more often it appeared in the first position.

I personally this is one of the most customizable visualizations in Many Eyes, making it extremely easy to think outside of the box, find new patterns in data, analyze texts, words and books and, well, just plain have some fun! Users can tweak the filters, zoom in and out, pan, highlight, see occurrences of the words and/or pair of words, hide or show common words and even choose the universe of words shown in the visualization. Phrase Net can process up to a million words from a single free text input.
For more [better written, more complete and thorough] information, visit Phrase Net's page on Many Eyes.
Check out the live thing below this image. (You need Java enabled to run any visualization on Many Eyes)

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