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Congress Speaks [congressspeaks.com] is a light-hearted exploration of the more than 14,548,598 words spoken in the 110th United States Congress. It explores who has being doing all this talking, and more importantly, what they have been saying. The website allows the comparison of individual legislators or states, or even states with legislators. The statistics include the exact number of words spoken, a tag cloud of the most common words used, the distribution of the party affiliations of the words spoken, and their relative weight against all words spoken in congress. All this data is part of the public record.

See also Capitol Words. Via Flowing Data.


Overwhelming! It took me a while to understand all parts of this visualization, but it looks very nice. The use of both color and size in the tag clouds kept me puzzled though: how would a small green tag compare to a large grey one? I think using only color or only size would be better. In addition, it would be interesting to see how including bi- and trigrams (combinations of 2 or 3 words) in the tag clouds would improve their expressiveness.

Mon 31 Aug 2009 at 7:57 PM

Hi Erik,

The color and size of the words in the tag cloud denote different attributes.

Simply put:
Size = How often the word was used
Color = How unique the word is to that person

So a very green word means that word is mostly attributable to that congress member (compared to other legislators). A large grey word means that the person said it a lot, but someone else in congress said it more (hence it being grey).

You can read a better description of this on the Congress Speaks site. Just rollover the question mark in the center of the tag clouds.

I really like your idea of the bi and trigrams. I would like to devote some time to dig into that.

Wed 21 Oct 2009 at 10:53 AM
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