I’ve spotted this trick some time ago over at the blog of my co-author Mathias Siems, and been curious ever since to use it myself sometime. So here we go. The website Wordle.net has a feature that enables you to insert a bunch of text or, in our case, the link to a website containing text. Wordle then generates 'word clouds', which give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Below is the result for The Defining Tension:
A couple of observations and possible explanations (after all, we’re academics):
- What stands out is the prominent featuring of the word 'director'. Clearly, this is the work of The Defining Tension-founder Bastiaan Assink, who wrote his PhD-thesis on 'Judicial Review of Director Conduct' and ever since is showing significant bias towards writing on director-related issues;
- How about the mysterious '2:9'? It’s the section of the Dutch Civil Code on the basis of which directors can be held liable. See my previous comment for an explanation;
- Then there’s a bunch of words that have no apparent meaning in English. That’s because their Dutch words. Long live our bilingual approach;
- Personally, I’m a bit concerned about the relatively prominent featuring of the word 'serious'. There can be too much of a good thing. And the problem is, now I’ve mentioned it, the word 'serious' will only feature more prominently next time we create a word cloud. Thankfully, Wordle also has a function that enables you to delete individual words that you’d rather not show off. Aah, the wonders of technology.