2008 State of the Union as Tag Cloud

Last year’s 2007 State of the Union Tag Cloud was such a hit, I decided to follow up again this year. A few major differences: Congress is mentioned a lot more this year, while health and oil don’t show up at all. This year’s address looks more active…instead of “fight” we get “fighting”. Overall, the themes are still easily picked out: “terrorists” still play a major part in the speech, and we get “empower” and “hope” and “trust” as themes.

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Digital Culture

5 Weeks

I haven’t talked nearly enough about the 5 Weeks to a Social Library project. I mentioned it long ago, and then never followed up with more information, so I’m fixing that today.

I just finished my presentation for 5 weeks, and it was a complete blast! It was only my second time doing an interactive webcast, and it was amazing…fun and informative and just great. I absolutely adore the multiple conversations aspect of most webcast software, where I’m presenting and doing visuals and voice, but the rest of the class is having a conversation completely separate from me via text on the side. Just amazingly info rich!

My presentation was entitled Make Your Library (warning: full screencast IE only), and focused on the what and how of If you want to listen or take a look at the slides and such, all the content can be found at OPAL.

Let me just say that the organizers of 5 weeks (Meredith, Dorothea, Michelle, Karen, Amanda, and Ellyssa) have completely knocked it out of the park. If this isn’t an exemplar of how to do an online learning experience, I haven’t seen one.

Digital Culture

Folksonomies = Translation Engines

I was lounging about today, idly thinking about folksonomies ( could happen) and I had what I consider a somewhat interesting idea. Are there any existing sites that allow for tagging in multiple languages? I suppose that does by default for language that use the Roman alphabet, but what about systems that use a non-roman…does flickr or technorati allow for Chinese or Japanese kanji? Or for Farsi?

For any system where this were the case, and there was an enormous database of folksonomic data to mine, and the folksonomies were in some way descriptive (it’s possible to have non-descriptive folksonomies…some people actually leverage by using specifically non-descriptive tags in order to pull very specific things from the organization)…well, if you were describing things in the world…would you be able to data mine such a folksonomy as a translation engine?

You would imagine that on flickr, a picture of a red ball might be tagged “red” and “Ball” by multiple languages. By doing some basic statistical work on the data, I think you could come up with a pretty good translation engine.

Anyone out there see that this couldn’t/wouldn’t work? Would this be better than traditional translation engines…I don’t know. It leverages the wisdom of crowds in an interesting new way, though.