Stable Word-Clouds for Visualising Text-Changes Over Time

Herold, Elisa; Pöckelmann, Marcus; Berg, Christian; Ritter, Jörg and Hall, Mark M. (2019). Stable Word-Clouds for Visualising Text-Changes Over Time. In: Doucet, Antoine; Isaac, Antoine; Golub, Koraljika; Aalberg, Trond and Jatowt, Adam eds. Digital Libraries for Open Knowledge. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 11799. Springer, Cham, pp. 224–237.



Word-clouds are a useful tool for providing overviews over texts, visualising relevant words. Multiple word-clouds can also be used to visualise changes over time in a text. This requires that the words in the individual word-clouds have stable positions, as otherwise it is very difficult so see what changed between two consecutive word-clouds. Existing approaches have used coordinated positioning algorithms, which do not allow for their use in an online, dynamic context. In this paper we present a fast word-cloud algorithm that uses word orthogonality to determine which words can share the same space in the word-clouds combined with a simple, but fast spiral-based layout algorithm. The evaluation shows that the algorithm achieves its goal of creating series of word-clouds fast enough to enable use in an online, dynamic context.

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