Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Playing with Words

How about this for a twist on meeting minutes? I used the library department minutes from 4.29 to try out this new tool.

Word Sift is a nifty little application that allows you to paste text into a window and generate a visual analysis based on frequency and other little algorithm bits. Words that are classed as academic show up in orange. Click on any word for a definition, related web sources, and the location of the word in your text.

Project research, access, demonstrated - orange and high frequency.
Student, laptop, library, noodlebib, english - high frequency.

Over the past two weeks we have had a large number of English classes booking in for research, using the laptops, and getting lessons in how to use NoodleBib for citation and note taking. Very accurate!

There is also a visual thesaurus, as can be seen with the word "student". Plug in a more sophisticated word, and the thesaurus really gets interesting. At the bottom of the page you can click on a recent Obama speech for a demo. Cool.

Why is this important? Word Sift is another way to visualize writing, another way to evaluate, and another way to understand words and language. More important, it is fun. I'm going to copy/paste the subject lines from my spam account. That should prove interesting!

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