When we read a text, we normally follow it in quite a linear fashion: from left to right, from top to bottom. Even when we skim articles quickly online, the trajectory is still the same. However, this is not the most efficient method of reading: in the age of hypertext we tend to create our own narratives using the bits and pieces from different sources.
As a response to this challenge we at Nodus Labs developed a new free online software tool Textexture.Com, which visualizes any text as a network and enables the user to use this interactive visualization to read through the text in a non-linear fashion.
Back in 2007 we started working on ThisIsLike.Com – an online tool to collect, retain, and share knowledge using network visualizations. One of the main challenges was to create the interface that would be easy to use and we are still working on that. A few days ago Friends of the Web announced their new product called Wikiweb App, which seems like a really well-done implementation of network interface for navigating Wikipedia data. We purchased the app and here are some first impressions.
Alexis Jacomy who made some of the best applications for web graph visualizations (SIGMa and GexfWalker among them) has come up with the new tool Sigma.Js, which is going to be huge and I’ll explain why.
Italo Calvino once said that “writing is essentially a combinatorial exercise” and that “reading is a way of exercising the potentialities contained in the system of signs”. We propose a new way of reading using text network visuaization. It goes beyond the normal sequential organization of textual material and instead offers the reader to navigate through polysingularity of meanings present within the text. Created using Alexis Jacomy’s GexfWalker and Gephi software.