For a few weeks now I have had a link to my del.icio.us homepage on this blog. I like del.icio.us : it is a useful resource which allows me to organise all the various links and news items I come across whilst browsing the web quickly and efficiently. Today I took the important step of displaying my del.icio.us tags on the front page of my website. The list of tags (tags = headings or categories) appears in the now familiar "cloud" formation. This is quite a clever system which allows you to recognise the popular tags very easily. The more items which are filed under a particular tag, the larger (and darker) that tag is displayed.
Such an approach opens up the possibility of a new pseudo-science : cloud analysis. Back in the old days of paper and books (remember them!) I always used to think I could learn a great deal about a person by looking at what books they had on their bookshelves. You needed to be a little sophisticated in your analytical approach : always disregard "token volumes" (you can always spot them because their spines are uncreased) and search for patterns. Over time you could get quite accurate in spotting the weirdo and the crank, the polymath and the cognoscenti.
The challenge is - can such an approach be adopted to the new science of cloud analysis. I suspect it can, but I am not sure. I am not the best person for me to test it out on - I know myself fairly well. What would be far more useful - from a scientific perspective - would be for all you out there to apply the principles of cloud analysis to my del.icio.us cloud. What does this pattern of reading tell you about me? What is the overall picture? What are the individual "kinks" in the emerging trend. If you can't make out all the minor tags in the cloud in the above illustration you can always see the real thing by visiting my website.
I recognise that I am laying myself open to a ground-breaking exercise in mass analysis here. I am walking naked into the marketplace of cloud analysis. I do it gladly, for the sake of science.