Friday, June 24, 2011

Word Play with Word Clouds: Redmond, Jabberwocky, and Green Eggs and Ham

Word clouds, popular as Web navigation aids, can now be easily created for your own custom visual designs using a new generation of free Web tools. The most popular word cloud design tools are: Tagxedo, Wordle, Wordlings, and Tagul

Tagxedo turns words — famous speeches, news articles, even your resume — into a visual word cloud. A word cloud (or tag cloud) displays words that are individually sized to represent the importance or frequency of occurrence within a body of text.

Here’s a word cloud that uses part of the text of the Wikipedia entry for the City of Redmond. As you might expect, “Redmond” is the most prominent word. You can set options to ignore common words, such as “the” or “a”.

Redmond Wikipedia word cloud (click for larger image)

Here are the words of the Lewis Carroll poem, Jabberwocky, overlaid onto an image of a dragon. With Tagxedo, you can use standard images to contain your text, or upload your own image files.

Jabberwocky word cloud (click for larger image)

Wordle is a Java-based word cloud generator, in which all words have equal weighting. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. Here’s a word cloud based on all the words in the text of the children’s book, Green Eggs and Ham.Green Eggs and Ham word cloud (click for larger image)Green Eggs and Ham, written by Dr. Seuss, contains a vocabulary of only 50 different words, which is far less than the more chatty The Cat in the Hat, which uses 225 words.

Wordlings is the simplest of the word cloud generators. Just enter a line of text and your word cloud starts forming, by repeating the words of your text.

Books word cloud (click for larger image)

Tagul is an interactive word cloud Web service that allows you to create hyperlinks for each of the words in the word cloud. Here's an interactive word cloud (requires Flash) that contains links to the home pages all of the member KCLS libraries. Try clicking on the library names.

Get Adobe Flash player

Redmond Library Board

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Rural Life: King County’s Scenic Small Towns

The King County Web site has recently uploaded several short videos on the scenic small towns of Snoqualmie, Fall City, and Duvall.

Northern Pacific logo on an old train car The city of Snoqualmie is best known as the home to Snoqualmie Falls and the Northwest Railway Museum. Until recently, logging and Weyerhaeuser's milling operations were the mainstays of the local economy. Currently, the city's scenic and recreational attractions are fostering the growth of a growing tourism industry.

Fall City
Located 26 miles east of Seattle on I-90, Fall City sits at the confluence of the Snoqualmie River and the Raging River. In the early days of the automobile, Fall City was a popular stopping off point for travelers going across Snoqualmie Pass. These days, travelers head to the stunning collection of tree houses at Treehouse Point.

The town of Duvall was named after Francis and James Duvall, who were early settlers of the area in the 1870s. Railroads and logging were the main industry of the town until the 1930s. After that, dairy farming took on a greater role. Today, Duvall is known for the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, which is popular with bicyclists and walkers.

For more info on rural areas in King County, see Rural services.

Redmond Library Board

Monday, June 13, 2011

Presto! -- A World of Magic with Louie Foxx

Louie Foxx - magician Louie Foxx will perform a magic show at the Redmond Library on Sunday, June 19th at 2:30. Louie calls his performance a “one man side show” full of:
  • Astounding Magic Tricks
  • Side Splitting Comedy
  • Amazing Cowboy Tricks
  • Eye Popping Hand Shadows
  • And much much more!

The Magic!
Here are a couple of magic tricks that Louie has created. The first one is the Tortilla Magic Trick.

Louie has added a new bubble trick to his bubble act, it’s called the Exploding Bubble.

For more info, click here. For other events at the Redmond Library, see Schedule of Events.

About Louie
As a kid Louie realized that he excelled at all of the things that adults told him were a waste of time. Instead of playing baseball in high school, Louie built himself a rickety table and rode the bus into downtown to perform magic tricks on the street corner.

Redmond Library Board

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Keeping an Eye on the Past: The Washington State Library Photograph Collection

Washington state seal The Washington State Archives recently revamped its online Digital Archives. The archives is dedicated to preserving electronic records from both state and local agencies that have legal, fiscal, or historic value.

The archives also includes the State Library Photograph Collection, which contains 5,274 images of various subjects related to Washington's history, people, geography, and economic development, from 1851-1990. Here’s one of a Boeing 314 Clipper flying past Mt. Rainier.

Boeing 314 Clipper and Mt. RainierYou can either search the photo collection by keyword, or browse the collection titles. In searching for the photos of Asahel Curtis, I came across this one taken at Neah Bay, where a whale is being cut up by whale hunters:

Cutting up a whale at Neah Bay - Asahel Curtis Asahel Curtis began his photographic career in 1897 and chronicled much of the Pacific Northwest over the next several decades.

You can also find photos of historical figures, such as Ezra Meeker, who travelled the Oregon Trail by ox cart and was the founder of Puyallup WA.

Ezra Meeker - founder of Puyallup WA

Redmond Library Board

Saturday, June 4, 2011

One World, Many Stories: Join the 2011 KCLS Summer Reading Program

This year's KCLS Summer Reading Program is entitled, One World, Many Stories. Starting June 13, children may register for the program either online or at their local library, where they can pick up a Summer Reading Log and start reading to earn prizes. Readers who read 500 minutes earn a halfway prize, and for 1,000 minutes, they earn the finisher’s prize! School-age readers who finish by August 31st can enter a drawing for a free laptop.

One World, Many Stories: KCLS Summer Reading Program

You can find a list of recommend books for the Summer Reading Program here.

Summer Reading Events at the Redmond Library
As part of the Summer Reading Program, the Redmond Library will host the following events:

Sun Jun 19, 2:30pm A World of Magic with Louie Foxx
Thu Jun 30, 6:30pm Jack and the Dragon Puppet Show
Fri Jul 15, 2:00pm Going Global Comedy Show
Sun Jul 24, 4:00pm Take a Musical Mystery Tour
Thu Jul 28, 2:00pm Masks of the Rain Forest
Fri Aug 5, 1:00pm The Wonderful Wacky World of Science
Tue Aug 9, 2:00pm Around the World with Brian Vogan & His Good Buddies
Mon Aug 15, 2:00pm Magic Around the World
Mon Aug 22, 6:30pm Brother Coyote and Sister Fox

For a complete of upcoming events, visit the Redmond Library Schedule of Events.

As part of the Summer Reading Program kickoff, KCLS has produced the following video, The World at Your Fingertips!. Enjoy!

Redmond Library Board