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October 14 2011

Visualization of the Week: Sentiment in the Bible

New textual analysis tools are providing interesting insights into classic works of literature. Last month, for example, we looked at a visualization based on character frequency in Jane Austen novels.

Along similar lines, has just released a visualization showing a sentiment analysis of the Bible.

A blog post announcing the visualization outlines the ebbs and flows that were uncovered:

Things start off well with creation, turn negative with Job and the patriarchs, improve again with Moses, dip with the period of the judges, recover with David, and have a mixed record (especially negative when Samaria is around) during the monarchy. The exilic period isn't as negative as you might expect, nor the return period as positive. In the New Testament, things start off fine with Jesus, then quickly turn negative as opposition to his message grows. The story of the early church, especially in the epistles, is largely positive.

Screenshot from's Bible sentiment visualization
This Bible visualization from includes both the Old and New Testaments. Black indicates a positive sentiment, red negative. (Click to enlarge.) created the visualization by running the Viralheat Sentiment API across a number of translations. The raw data from OpenBible's visualization is available for download.

A second visualization breaks down the sentiment by specific book, making it easier to see those that contain overwhelmingly positive sentiment (Psalms, for example), those that contain negative sentiment (Job), and those that go from bad to worse (Jonah).

Found a great visualization? Tell us about it

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring visualizations. We're always looking for leads, so please drop a line if there's a visualization you think we should know about.

Web 2.0 Summit, being held October 17-19 in San Francisco, will examine "The Data Frame" — focusing on the impact of data in today's networked economy.

Save $300 on registration with the code RADAR

More Visualizations:

May 12 2011

Strata Week: Data tools, data weapons, data stories

Here are a few of the data stories that caught my eye this week.

Another acquisition for AVOS

AVOSLast month, news broke that Yahoo had sold the popular bookmarking service Delicious to YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. Hurley and Chen have founded a new company AVOS, and while details are still fuzzy exactly what Delicious will look like under new ownership, that picture became a little clearer this week when AVOS announced another acquisition this week, this time purchasing the social media analytics startup Tap11.

"Our vision is to create the world's best platform for users to save, share, and discover new content," said Hurley in a statement on AVOS blog. "With the acquisition of Tap11, we will be able to provide consumer and enterprise users with powerful tools to publish and analyze their links' impact in real-time."

With the Delicious and Tap11 tools in its toolbox, AVOS could build a sophisticated system for recommending content and monitoring sentiment.

OSCON Data 2011, being held July 25-27 in Portland, Ore., is a gathering for developers who are hands-on, doing the systems work and evolving architectures and tools to manage data. (This event is co-located with OSCON.)

Save 20% on registration with the code OS11RAD

Data and mathematical intimidation

The idea of mathematical analysis being misused and misconstrued is hardly new, but as data-driven decision-making moves into new sectors, there are likely to be new controversies over the ways in which math and data are wielded. That's certainly the case with a string of recent stories written by The LA Times in which the newspaper has constructed a mathematical model to rate teachers' impact on their students. The model uses students' test scores to devise a teacher's "value-add." The analysis compares a student's performance on tests with their prior performance, and that difference — for better or worse or the same — is attributed to the teacher.

Teachers have balked at the method in part because The LA Times has published teachers' names and scores. But now some mathematicians are pushing back as well. An editorial written by John Ewing, president of Math for America, traces the history of the value-added systems and looks at several of the problems with these models (and with sweeping judgments made on standardized test scores).

Ewing writes:

Value-added modeling is promoted because it has the right pedigree — because it is based on "sophisticated mathematics." As a consequence, mathematics that ought to be used to illuminate ends up being used to intimidate. When that happens, mathematicians have a responsibility to speak out.

Data and scientific storytelling

Scientific papers are stories that persuade with data. That was the topic of a very interesting presentation by Anita de Waard, Disruptive Technologies Director at Elsevier Labs, at the recent Harvard Digital Scholarship Summit. Her talk provided a story analysis of scientific text, looking at the ways in which citations create facts and how linked data can help better support this knowledge (or story) creation process.

The research paper isn't going away any time soon, de Waard argues, but she does point to several other ways in which the citation, review and publication processes of scientific papers can be improved. Ideas include a science data app store and executable scientific papers.

The slides from her talk are embedded below

Got data news?

Feel free to email me.


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