Tagul: highly customisable word clouds

I was creating a word cloud at work today, and came across Tagul. You have to sign up to use it, but once you have, it’s brilliant.

You can create a list of the words you want to use, take words from a website or paste in text you want to use.  There are several standard shapes, with customisable aspect ratio, and a range of fun shapes you can choose from, or you can upload your own. Colour, font and word direction are also customisable. If there are any particular words you want in a particular colour, location, size or angle, you can set those for individual words, while leaving the settings random for other words.

The word clouds below give you an idea of what you can do with Tagul (and use this blog as a source for the words).

Rainbow swirl / flower (reminds me of the Altmetric doughnut)

Rainbow swirl / flower: an inbuilt shape, colours and all (it reminds me of the Altmetric doughnut)

It's not just pretty patterns. For example, there's a wine glass (illustrated), flames, a tree and a turtle.

It’s not just pretty patterns. For example, there’s a wine glass (illustrated), flames, a tree and a turtle.

How about a dolphin?

How about a dolphin?

Or just a circle?

Or just a circle?

In any colours you like!

In any colours you like!

Or upload your own image (this one is my one of my dance groups' logos)

Or upload your own image (this one is my one of my dance groups’ logos)


First impression of Scopus Article Metrics

  • I was put off by the title on Elsevier’s blog post introducing Scopus article Metrics – To read or not to read? – I don’t think you shouldn’t read an article just because other people haven’t interacted with it in a quantifiable way.  But that’s not how it’s meant – the metrics add to the info you already have from the abstract, date, journal title, etc. to help you decide if the article fits your particular information need.
  • Percentile bar given for various metrics – I like to quick visual aspect of this, but would want to know more about how the numbers are calculated before trusting it.
  • The detailed view splits metrics into Citations, Scholarly activity (Mendeley, CiteULike, etc.), Scholarly commentary (blogs, etc.), Mass media and Social activity (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.).  I find this makes it much easier to get a meaningful impression from the metrics than if they were all lumped together.
  • Tabs in the detailed view provide easy access to links to the posts about the article which underlie the metrics.  Very useful.
  • Overall, a promising development I’m pleased to see in one of the big databases.

Blog resurrection and Twitterfall

Hello! After nearly 3 years, I’ve decided to resurrect this blog.  There are various reasons for choosing to do this now.  I’m overseeing the setting up of a new library and information service, and am therefore thinking about lots of new things.  I’ve just properly started on CILIP chartership – I registered in February, but haven’t really got very far up until the past week or so.  Finally, in the past few weeks I’ve registered for 2 conferences, having not attended one for a couple of years, and am feeling a renewed enthusiasm for my CPD.

This evening I attended my first #chartership twitter chat.  I’ve previously used Hootesuite for twitter chats, but decided to try out another tool I’d heard of for this evening – Twitterfall.  Tweets fall into the Twitterfall screen a bit like a slow waterfall.


Photo by Tom Hall via Flickr http://bit.ly/1LAq3qx

You can choose which tweets you see with a list, search or location and you can exclude searches too.  There’s also tick boxes to add tweets from your timeline, that you’re mentioned in or your direct messages.  I just used a search for #chartership and missed some replies to my tweets that were missing the hashtag.  Now I’ve found the mentions tickbox I’ll use that as well for chats so I don’t miss helpful replies!

I like how tweets fall slowly onto the page slowly.  If lots of people are tweeting at once you don’t get overwhelmed.  I’m quite a slow reader and the default speed worked for me, but you can speed it up if you want. Once I’d worked out symbol that looks a bit like a refresh button was a ‘View conversation’ button, that was useful too.


I also realised partway through the chat that if you’re hovering over one of the tweets in the fall, the fall is paused so you don’t get any new messages.  This is a really useful feature if you’re taking a bit longer to read a tweet, trying to catch up with them or contemplating a response.  However, if you find yourself wondering why no one is tweeting, check you haven’t left your cursor hovering over the fall.

When you hover over a tweet an arrow appears at the right hand side giving you various options – DM, Follow, Favourite, Reply, Retweet, Report and View.  You can follow, favourite, reply and retweet satisfactorily from within Twitterfall, but when I tried View it took me to Twitter and when I returned to Twitterfall it started the fall all over again.  So, if you want to view someone’s Twitter page, I’d open the View link in a new tab/window.  One thing I found quite frustrating was that you don’t get a normal mini profile when you hover over someone like you do in Twitter – the pop up you get is missing their picture and blurb.


Overall, Twitterfall worked really rather well for following a twitter chat and I’ll be using it again.

Zotero 3.0 – exciting new features

Last week saw the launch of Zotero 3.0.  Zotero is currently my personal reference manager of choice and I was quite excited to see a couple of the new features of Zotero 3.0 (and to see them working!).

The major new feature to come with Zotero 3.0 is the introduction of Zotero Standalone with connectors to Google Chrome and Safari as well as Firefox.  Previously,  Zotero was only available as an extension for the Firefox web browser, viewed in a separate pane within Firefox.  Zotero Standalone is a desktop version of Zotero with references captured from web pages via a web browser connector.

From the point of view of using Zotero, Zotero Standalone works in exactly the same way as the Firefox extension version except that it is in a separate window rather than a pane within Firefox and you have a choice of three web browsers.  I’ve already found it useful to be able to choose whether I want to look at Zotero at the same time as a webpage (via the Zotero Firefox extension) or in full screen (via Zotero Standalone) depending on what I’m doing.

The other new feature in Zotero 3.0 which I was very pleased to see (so pleased a little celebratory dance was required!) was duplicate detection.  Zotero is now able to recognise where two references in my library are the same thing and then merge them – though don’t worry it won’t merge records unless you ask it too.  I haven’t tested it extensively yet, but it seems to work very well.