Envisioning Information: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Lust put this together for De Volkskrant newspaper. It’s quite an amazing semiotic analysis and re-categorization of the sea of information we swim in.

The Oogle search engine queries Google search and determines the semantic orientation of each word in the returned results. To determine semantic orientation the program searches every word in the title and description of each result. By comparing the number of returned Google search results for each word to the ratio of returned results for a set of positive and negative words to the number of returned results for the positive/negative words paired with each word, the program can determine the degree of positivity or negativity. Essentially word score is determined by how often it is found paired with other words known to be positive or negative. Each word in the returned results is then colored by score, and the scores visualized per result title, result description, and then for the whole page, showing the overall semantic orientation as determined by Google. Oogle is a tool for digital anthropology in that it gives insight into the relationship between language and (primarily western) culture and shows how, at a certain moment in time, words are being read and valued.

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