Explore thesga.org’s new tag cloud

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)

Since our initial implementation of the revamped website early this year, we’ve continued to add stories and make sure the new material can be found. We continue to work toward making our Society’s website useful and informative to students, educators, researchers, and those with an interest in our human past.

Now that there’s substantial material on the website, we’ve given you three ways to find material of interest to you. In short, they are 1) a hierarchical listing conforming to a “site map” (not the archaeological kind!); 2) a search box, where you can enter any word, phrase, or even number you are interested in; and 3) a tag cloud. You can see all three on the right-hand side of all pages of our SGA website. At the top is the hierarchical listing, then the tag cloud, and at the bottom, the search box.

The most obvious way to find stories on the website is to use the hierarchy listed vertically on the right, atop the sage green bar. Everything on the website is linked to at least one of these categories or subcategories. These categories are topical to the Society and the website, including, for example, calendar, ArchaeoBus, Archaeology Month, Publications, and Chapters, as well as SGA’s inner workings, such as the Endowment Fund, our bylaws, our vision and mission, and the like. Expect these to be expanded somewhat in the near future, as the ArchaeoBus team produces more materials and stories.


View of web page, scrolled down to show all three zones on the sage green “navigation” bar.

You may also have noticed that we implemented a search box, shown at the bottom of the sage green bar on the right, far below the hierarchy. You can type any topic or word of interest in this box, including phrases and numbers. For example, if you were interested in primitive technology, you could type in that phrase, or “knapping.” That would produce a list of the stories or entries in which that word or words were used. The listing will be newest to oldest, with the most recent story at the top.

We have very recently implemented a third way to find stories of interest: tags. On this website, tags are words or phrases that cross-cut the hierarchical listing. Not every story has been tagged, because some are “housekeeping” stories and out-of-date, for example, notices of upcoming meetings and the like. Instead, the tags focus on topics likely to be useful to those interested in the archaeology of Georgia rather than the Society itself. After all, the latter is well-delineated in the hierarchical listing. Thus, the tags focus on archaeological topics and content that researchers may be interested in.

Look between the hierarchical listing and the search box for the tag cloud, entitled “Tags.” All those words and phrases jumbled together into a single list are the tags currently used on this website. The tags are presented in what is called a tag cloud, because the shape resembles the blobby shape of a cumulus cloud (the stylized kind you see in a coloring book). Tag clouds are a specific type of word cloud. Word clouds are generated from any set of words (e.g., the Declaration of Independence, this article, the Bible), whereas tag clouds are special word clouds generated from just those words used as tags.

Word clouds are a visual representation of the frequency of words and phrases within a given text (can range from a sentence to a webpage, etc.). The relative size of the font of the words indicates how frequently they are used in the given text. The larger-size tags in the cloud on our website have been used more frequently. As time goes on, and more stories are published, and therefore are tagged, the shape and size of the tag cloud on our website will change.

So, our website’s tags use what words and phrases? At present, they include rough time periods (e.g., Paleoindian, Woodland, Postbellum, Twentieth century), a few general artifact types (e.g., lithics, glass, nails), a few places (e.g., Fort Daniel, Etowah, Kolomoki), and other topics of interest like stewardship and outreach, excavation and survey.

The list of tags is not exhaustive, so remember you can also use the search box above the tag cloud to find stories relevant to your interests.

NOTE: Should you be interested in making a word cloud, you can visit this Wordle page and create your own. Here’s a Wordle-generated word cloud for this story that uses multiple colors, allows some words to be portrayed vertically, has rounded corners, and discards common words like “and” and “the.”