Generating Blog Keyword Tags 2


I had another go at automating the tagging process for my blog using Yahoo Pipes, as I wanted to improve on my original idea, which was a bit scrappy.

So, I’ve reworked the pipe to pull out all of the keywords from all of the posts (using Category RSS feeds). The original pipe listed the blog post title and keywords associated with that blog post. The new pipe lists the most frequently used keywords in all of the blog posts. When the keyword is clicked on (in the RSS feed) it runs a search on that keyword¬†and returns any blog post mentioning the keyword.

In the pipe I’ve manually filtered out certain irrelevant words eg ‘blog’, ‘amp’ and ‘doc’. As time goes on I’ll have to manually add more words.

The only problem at the moment is that, even though the pipe returns an unlimited number of keywords, is limited to showing the first twenty items. I decided to compromise and call the feed ‘Top automatic Tags’. Unsurprisingly the most common phrase is ‘Yahoo pipes’.

You can see it on the right hand side of this blog (if Yahoo pipes is working, of course ūüėČ )

PS. I’ve not abandoned the original Tagxedo idea, but I need a bit more time to tinker with it.

Generating Blog Keyword Tags and Tagxedo Clouds with Yahoo Pipes


As I’ve been adding blog posts here I’ve noticed that the keyword tags are getting into a mess. So I’ve been thinking about what I could do to sort them out, either by getting the computer to do the tagging for me, or provide another way of presenting relevant keywords about specific blog posts to anyone who visits my blog.

As a first attempt (1), I decided to use Yahoo pipes and simply feed in the RSS feed of my blog, pull out keywords from each blog post and then create another RSS feed to be used anywhere. Visitors can view keywords for the last 10 blog posts, as I couldn’t get Yahoo pipes to go beyond 10. They can also click on a link to the blog post. The words/phrases pulled out aren’t perfect (as with any automated word extraction), but I think you get a good feel for the blog posts from them.

(NB: Click on ‘List’ to see the keywords and use the link back to the blog.)

At the same time, I was thinking about whether I could use something like a tag cloud generator to do what I wanted a bit more creatively. Having a look at Tagxedo, I realised that if you use the URL function on the home page to create a cloud you could actually build the url yourself. So, I created a second pipe (2) that presented the same keywords, but also provides a clickable link that feeds through to Tagxedo and creates individual tag clouds for each entry.

(NB: Click on ‘List’ to see the keywords and use the link to generate the cloud.)

Ultimately, I did want to combine the two pipes, but I couldn’t get Yahoo pipes to create valid links to 2 places in the same RSS item.

I would have also liked the Tagxedo cloud to display in the RSS feed, but at the moment the link just creates a cloud from the RSS.

Hopefully there is a way to achieve both of these things, but as a first attempt I think they both work quite well, even if the RSS feeds/presentation do need a bit of tidying up.

The results of the embedded pipes can be found on my test site here. Links to the source code of the pipe can be found in (1) and (2) above. I’ve also added the RSS to the blog on the right hand side to see how people get on with it. The feed is labelled ‘Term Tags’.

Animated Wordcloud with Tagxedo


After getting the Word extractor for my Literary Twist project working, I decided that I wanted to make some creative use of the information it pulled out. I tested it on Twapperkeeper tweets from the Middlemash Library mashup event last year and had a few ideas about creating some kind of abstract multimedia montage for it, rather than presenting just facts and figures. So I needed to find some appropriate creative tools to make use of the tweets.

Phil Bradley mentioned Tagxedo¬†– a word cloud generator – in a few tweets and it was only when he posted an interesting Mona Lisa and Wolf tag cloud that I¬†realised¬†you could do more than just create a basic word cloud. It allows you to upload not only your own text, but also your own images and the word cloud fits inside the image. I had a play with it and wondered if I could create an animated word cloud. I wanted the animation to be appropriate to the words, but I couldn’t think how to use the Middlemash tweets.

I still haven’t decided exactly how I’ll use it for the Middlemash tweets, but along a different¬†track¬†altogether, I remembered the Grand National was on last weekend. I also remembered about the old zoetrope image of a horse. So after getting a list of the runners and a commentary on the race I put them into tweaked zoetrope images one by one, added the images to Windows Moviemaker and was really pleased with the resulting animation. I have to admit that the images aren’t perfect, as I had to cut them from the orignal image via screen capture and resize them manually.

So there we have an animated Zoetrope Tagxedo word cloud of the Grand National 2010 created using information from the race itself.

As another stage, it would have been good to create a longer animation that removed horses along the way and just left the winner at the end.

It’s given me plenty of inspiration too. All sorts of animated tag cloud ideas buzzing round my head now.