Monday, February 2, 2009

Wordles and the Inaugural Addresses

In the days after the inauguration of #44, I saw many, many blog posts and newspaper stories featuring Wordles of the inaugural address. In my opinion, while they are lovely enough, they don’t really address what makes one person’s words distinctive. To see if I could do any better, I spent a couple of days making Comparisons of Inaugural Addresses.

thumbnail of lLincoln's 2nd inaugural



Lawrence Rider said...

Simply fascinating. Thanks for sharing, man.

3girlsmomma said...

How is that fingerprint-like form achieved?

BTW, I teach a Economics/Government course... your choice to compare Presidential Addresses is brilliant!

Jonathan Feinberg said...

The form is an artifact of the layout algorithm, which is balancing the competing constraints of "try to get the words as close to the vertical center line as possible", "try to alphabetize the words from top to bottom", and "lay out the biggest words first". It's the "secret of wordle" that the combination of randomized algorithms with constraints makes beauty!

tilly said...

Hi Jonathan,
The link no longer goes to those fantastic visualisations - any chance of restoring access to those pictures? They really give fascinating insights into the texts.
Thanks for Wordle!
Tilly Harrison