Word Statistics Links

For my What’s New with What’s New presentation for the Boston Regional Library System:

Book Information

  • Amazon: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down — The Amazon page for this book is an example of some of the ways that Amazon is playing around with text analysis
  • LibraryThing — This social cataloging site is doing some very interesting work analyzing and comparing its members’ collection data, and collecting and organizing data through their Common Knowledge fielded wiki [Example: John Steinbeck]


Tagging is the primary method of organization for many social media sites, including Flickr, LibraryThing, Delicious, and many others. Tags are keywords users assign to their own items, which can also be used to search across the whole system. Because of the lack of a controlled vocabulary or standard cataloging rules, tagging is an imperfect system by design, but the use of natural vocabulary is quick, flexible and powerful.

Collections of tags can be presented in any format, but are often presented as tag clouds. Here are a couple of typical examples:
Flickr | LibraryThing | Delicious

Similar clouds can be made by analyzing the frequency of words used in any piece of text, like the example below.

This is a tag cloud made by uploading the text of the Declaration of Independence to the TagCrowd website

created at TagCrowd.com

CardCow : Postcards for Sale (and More…)

Vintage Postcards from Cardcow.comCardCow.com sells vintage postcards and collectibles, worth checking out if you’re interested in adding to your library’s postcard collection. But even if you don’t plan to buy anything, this can be a very interesting site, useful for reference and worth sharing with your users. They have a lot of postcards for sale, but even after a card is sold, the image and listing stay on the website as a resource, and they have built up quite an impressive collection of images. You can browse by category, or search the listings. The cataloging isn’t perfect — there are currently eight cards listed for Magnolia and five for Mangolia — but you can usually find what you’re looking for one way or another. They list the date if a card has a postmark, and include images of the backs of the postcards, which is a nice touch.
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Yelp and Other Local Information Sites

Has your library been Yelped? Yelp is a community-based directory service with listings for all sorts of businesses and institutions. By “community-based” I mean that this is yet another popular website in which users sign up for accounts and provide all the content — add and
edit listings, add photos, add reviews, etc.

A few of our libraries have listings including a few reviews. The review for Danvers says:

“the library is great and has a nice selection of books. I am addicted to Noblenet.org, where you can order any book from member libraries. It is the greatest innovation.” | Yelp Listing and Review

But my favorite library review is for the Somerville Public Library, which says:

“One thing I have noticed about the Somerville Library is the uniform friendliness and cheerfulness of their staff, a far cry from your stereotypically surly librarian.” | Yelp Listing and Review

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