LO7 – Information Visualization

The project that caught my eye this week is Chris Harrison’s WordSpectrum. Its purpose is to visualize bigram data to represent word associations. For example, it takes the words “war” and “peace,” and then places words that appear most frequently as bigrams with these from left to right depending on which word they appear next to more. Due to this, you get “war” and “ii” on the same side of the graphic, then you have “peace” and “officers” on the other side. In the center of the graphic you have words that are used generally equally between the two, and because these words are related to each other, most of the time these words will be conjunctions. For example, the word “and” is near the center for most graphics because people have a tendency to write phrases such as “war and peace,” or “good and evil,” leading to high word associations between the two. I find this project particularly interesting because it shows to at least some degree what people associate with certain words, giving a glimpse into the minds.

A screenshot of the graphic for war and peace. Please note that the right side says peace, and the PDF was misbehaving.

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