Waking the unread

While looking at Google Book Search the other day I was intrigued to discover that parts of my early oeuvre, such as it is, have been digitized from the University of Michigan collections.

I was particularly struck by the word clouds. Here is a word cloud from a 1991 work on libraries and networks with special reference to the now long forgotten OSI suite of protocols.


Here is the word cloud to a 1988 collection of conference papers on library automation, mostly with a UK focus.


In each case, I think the cloud does a reasonable job of reminding you of topics of interest at the time. Here are a couple of other volumes. Here is the cloud from Charles Hildreth's influential earlier work (1982) on online catalogs:


And here is the cloud from the first edition (1992) of Ed Krol's very influential The whole Internet: user's guide & catalog ..


They have a nice quality of 'glancability' ... not a definitive guide but useful hints and hooks.

Comments: 1

Oct 01, 2009
Eric Rumsey

Thanks for the idea -- I think Google should do more to make it clear that word clouds in GBS are not, apparently, meant to give an actual representation of the number of word occurrences in books, but just to give a rough idea of content -- "hints and hooks" as you say.

See my article on this: Metadata Problems in Google Books: Word Clouds