by Henry Farrell on July 21, 2008

I’ve seen various textcloud applications before, but “Wordle”:http://wordle.net/ (via “Steve Poole”:http://unspeak.net/) is the first one that I’ve seen that makes it easy to produce aesthetically attractive pictures of the information. Below is the textcloud of my book, “The Political Economy of Trust: Institutions, Interests and Inter-Firm Cooperation” which I’m preparing for publication in Cambridge’s Comparative Politics series (click on the graphic to see the full thing). I want to make a poster of this and frame it for my office.



Matt 07.21.08 at 11:30 pm

I’m afraid that “however” and “quite” might loom even larger for me if I did such a thing. You can do something similar (though not as pretty) with tag and author “clouds” on LibraryThing as well. Just one of the small ways that site helps you waste time.


monkey.dave 07.22.08 at 12:19 am

It’s odd that “institutions” and “Institutions” (up and a bit to the left) are considered different words.


Steven Taylor 07.22.08 at 12:36 am

A cool idea, which I promptly stole emulated with my own forthcoming book (here).

I was surprised the form allowed that big of a cut-n-paste.

“However” made it to mine as well (along with “indeed”).


G C 07.22.08 at 1:05 am

A friend and I got obsessed with this site a week or so ago.

Ulysses and Paradise Lost
The Films of Wes Anderson
Apocalpyse Now and Swann’s Way

Bonus: Moby-Dick


joji 07.22.08 at 1:26 am

the form and function of visual arts.


D Jagannathan 07.22.08 at 2:33 am

I’m most impressed that mafiosi makes it onto your cloud.


derrida derider 07.22.08 at 3:08 am

Its an obvious thing to put on the dustjacket of the book.


mollymooly 07.22.08 at 5:36 am

Ooh, you’ve been putting however at the start of sentences! Somebody phone Strunk and/or White!


thedullfig 07.22.08 at 11:41 am

I enjoy the wordle tool as well. I put my delicious bookmarks into it and created my blog header.


Eszter Hargittai 07.22.08 at 2:36 pm

I’ve had that Web site on a browser tab for over a week now thinking about various texts/sites to look at. (I tried a few things, but kept running into errors.) If I had a book, the choice would’ve been obvious.:)

It’s not clear whether it’s meaningful to separate lower-case and upper-case versions of the same word (e.g., “thus” in this graphic). Also, are “University” and “Press” that big because of the publisher info?


Henry 07.22.08 at 4:56 pm

Steven – the java applet does the necessary calcs on your computer, so that they don’t have to upload the data, hence willingness I presume to accommodate large text files.

d-j – there is a chapter on the Mafia in there, to give some relief to the readers who have slogged through all the stuff about inter-firm cooperation.

d-d – I had the same thought, but the series that I am going into has a uniform look as I remember.

Eszter – that’s right – if I hadn’t been in a hurry to go back to baby duties, I would have probably cut out the biblio. Peter Hall clearly is a greater influence on me than I would have expected too.


Shripriya 07.22.08 at 5:57 pm

How’d you get the jpg? I only get a wordle file that I can’t right click on and save… Thanks!


Daniel Nexon 07.22.08 at 6:53 pm

What a great mid-summer time waster.

I’m clearly fond of “however” and “even.” To be more “specific,” I have at “least” eight or nine “particular” tics.” I “will,” “therefore,” need to do something about this “fact” in my future books and articles.

But no surprises on the most common words in either my forthcoming monograph (religious, political, Charles, Philip, international, composite…) or the Harry Potter volume (Harry, Potter, world).


mss 07.22.08 at 8:19 pm

Henry, I would appreciate very much if you could explain to me how in the world you uploaded the wordle image in your blog, I´ve tried to print it but couldn´t, the java script is enabled in my mac.
Thanks a lot,


josh w 07.23.08 at 11:16 am


Henry 07.23.08 at 1:49 pm

mss – I simply enlarged the java window to max size on my monitor, and used a windows screen grab utility (snippy.exe) to get what I wanted. Then ported it into Photoshop and saved it as a JPEG. I think there are other ways to do it – the FAQ suggests you can load it into a vector graphics format too – but this was the easiest.


carl caldwell 07.23.08 at 8:24 pm

damn you, Henry. Hours of my life are passing by with this devilish program.


mss 07.23.08 at 11:32 pm

thanks Henry, I figured out another way, enlarging the java window as you say, resize the applet, it gives you a snapshot, then saving the snapshot as a gif or jpeg in my desktop and upload it in my blog, it worked!

another question please, I made the mistake of naming the applet with my blog´s name: noespocacosa.wordpress.com, now whenever somebody googles my blog´s name google shows about 3 entrances of the wordle site with my login name and it tends to confuse people so they have to keep looking for my actual blog wordpress.com, the question is if I can delete the applet that I created or change the login name.

thanks Henry, I appreciate your answer.

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