del.icio.us Visualization

In my spare time at home, I’ve been using the Prefuse visualization toolkit to make visualizations of my del.icio.us tags and posts. If you click the thumbnail below, you’ll see what I’ve made. It’s rendered as a graph: each node is one of my tags, and the size of the tag is directly proportional the amount of use that the tag gets. Each tag is linked to another tag if it’s appeared in a shared post: so if I tag a post with “games” and “design”, it puts an edge between them. The thickness of each edge is directly proportional to the number of posts shared between two tags; also, edges become redder as they get bigger, just so they stand out more.

del.icio.us visualization

I went through several iterations, starting as a simple tag cloud and moving to rendering every single tag like this. However, rendering every tag created an indecipherable jumble of information. I implemented a filter that only graphed the subset of tags that have appeared in more than N posts. Experimenting for different values of N, I settled on one that worked for me (8), and that generated what you see in the screenshot.

I like this visualization: you can easily see that, in my world, concepts closely entangled with one another include:

  • games and design
  • design and web
  • tools and web
  • programming and web
  • programming and Ruby
  • games and free
  • games and theory
  • art and weird
  • information and visualization

I think my next project will be going back to the giant pre-filtered graph and applying a fisheye lens to it, to see if that aids in readability.

I’d also welcome any suggestions for other APIs that will give me neat data to play with. del.icio.us is cool, but it’s not exactly what I’m looking for: I’d particularly love something related to a social network.

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