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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Strange, excellent thing

I’ve just come across TextArc. Perhaps you know it. It’s weird and somewhat marvellous and I’ve no real idea how to use it or what it means. The site’s author explains it thus:

'A TextArc is a visual represention of a text—the entire text (twice!) on a single page. A funny combination of an index, concordance, and summary; it uses the viewer's eye to help uncover meaning.'

Hmm. The basic principle seems to be that the words of a text are distributed round an arc, in the order that they appear: it’s like placing all the words of a play round a clock face. (And don’t tell me you’ve not done that before.) Each word is also placed in the centre of the arc, at a spot determined by the meeting point of lines extending from that word’s position on the arc. And so by clicking … hang on. I am confusing myself. Just go to www.textarc.org and try out Hamlet, one of their sample texts. What does it show? What is the point? And, like, why are we all here, Horatio?

  • At 10/13/2007 12:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    Fascinating! I wonder what word lurks in the center of some of my essays, only to emerge when placed round a clock face... "Anxiety"? "However"?


  • At 10/14/2007 02:20:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    The one time I tried TextArc my browser crashed (as the site warned might happen). As soon as I get some more free time, though, I'm geekily dying to try it. (Just didn't want Bardolph to think my silence indicated a lack of interest--it's been exactly the opposite: I'm waiting until I have enough free time so that I can use it properly, and enjoy it enthusiastically.)


 Scribble some marginalia

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