This website has apparently been around for quite some time, but I only recently discovered it via Larry Hurtado’s blog. It’s Wordle.net, and it uses the same technology as the tag or category “clouds” on blogging websites, to use relative size to visually depict word frequencies in a text. From their homepage:
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.
Now this site is ridiculously addicting, if only because of how fun it is, but I’m really interested in the idea of a visual depiction of texts, and have experimented with a couple of my own. Obviously, you can only take so much from what words are used the greatest amount in a text, but it’s interesting how easily certain themes or priorities jump right out at you when you look at a text in this way. Above is the top 150 words from all four gospels. I wonder what the priorities of those texts are?
Here are a couple more:
The site, 66clouds, sells various products with books of the Bible presented in this way. One of the cool features of Wordle is that anything you design on their site you are free to use in whatever way you want, even to design a product for sale. Check it out.