This post marks the start of what I hope will become a regular feature for the Online Journalism Blog. Every Friday afternoon I will (try to) post a link to an online tool which has potential journalistic applications.
The thing is, I’m not assuming I’ll be the one to spot them.
I’ll write what I can see, what I think and what I’ve done – but for the most part, it’s over to you: if you find the tool intriguing or it solves some problem you have, I’d like you to share your thoughts.
Hence: ‘Something for the weekend’ – something to play around with on a slow Friday afternoon or Sunday night clickfest.
I’ve decided to start with a tool that I find fascinating, and ticks a lot of boxes for me, but whose application I can’t quite yet see. It’s a solution in search of a problem:
The Tag Cloud Generator will generate a tag cloud for any webpage based on links or just most-used words. The tags will link to Wikipedia or Delicious based on your choice. You can customise appearance and delete irrelevant tags.
Now I’m a big fan of tags – and I recommend anyone to read Everything is Miscellaneous to find out why. They allow you to see patterns and relationships that otherwise might not be apparent.
So. The first application I thought of for this – and actually the reason why I searched for it – was this:
I was writing an album review for a music magazine, and the particular artist has a set of cliches around him. I wanted to be able to put a bunch of reviews through a tag cloud generator to see the most frequent words.
I did it with one review and it kinda worked. To do it with more than one would have been a cut, paste, and upload job that I didn’t have time for – but really that’s what you need to do.
I then tried doing it with the Wikipedia entry for the Gulf War. Dates figure heavily. Places, people and things (e.g. submarines) too.
But that’s just two applications. I’m hoping you can come up with more ideas.