Contextual Tag Cloud of the Boss from New York Magazine

nymag the language of bruce

Aren’t all tag clouds placed in some sort of context? Probably, but I’d argue that the above tag cloud is much more interesting than the usual hierarchy of text that defined by size depending on quantity of usage. I’m not even a fan of Bruce Springsteen but I was interested in the info New York Magazine pulled from his lyrics just as much as a die hard fan. They’ve broken the categories into 1. His top ten favorites, 2. his women, 3. his cars, and 4. his haunts. You can view the article from the magazine here, though if you want a better view you might just want to check out the jpg I placed on flickr b/c you have to download a pdf to see the same page on the New York Magazine website. Why it’s a pdf I do not know…

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  • kevinsteele

    This goes to show that the human brain is still the most interesting part of the human + computer collaboration.

    (I'm imagining a faux Springsteen number, a regret filled road trip in a convertible cadillac, heading back to Jersey after losing a bundle, Mary and Janey, in Vegas. It's night, the top is down…)

    Tag clouds only offer shallow insights but this is far more interesting with categories broken out. In this case a human brain knew what context to search within.

    Hmmm, now that we see this, though, we can imagine software that could get us very close to this. Women's names, place names and car brands are all groupings that we could easily look for when processing a body of words. We might not catch every name when comparing it to a list, but patterns would emerge.

    It would be interesting to run such a process on the works of various design writers comparing it to lists of type faces, designers, cities, schools, publications/artifacts…

    In the future a computer could look at a body of work by a designer, identify all the typefaces used visually, and cough up a complete index of words and type…

  • Folkert

    Hi Michael, do you happen to know what typeface this is? I seem to recognize it as the one NYMag uses also.

  • michaelsurtees

    Not too sure what typeface New York Magazine is using for the above image, why do you ask?