Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, June 30, 2002

TextArc: An Alternate Way to View and Analyze Text

TextArc - extracting new meaning and relationships from literary works - new visual cataloguing approach
Software (Win & Mac)

Launched on April 15th, Textarc is highly innovative visualization software which allows its users to "see" and discover new and normally invisible patterns existing within a large bodies of text.

A TextArc is a visual representation of a text displayed twice on a single page. It combines in one visual tool an index, concordance and summary, and it uses the viewer's eye to help uncover meaning.

Such a tool would appear to be particularly useful for the analysis and study of classical works of art and literature in which the use of the language has been the focus of keen attention and engineering by the author.

While this tool is still being developed and refined users can already appreciate the potential of this technology by accessing the whole body of the Shakespeare Hamlet, or Alice in Wonderland, once it has been visually processed by TextArc.

The results that TextArc creates offer readers the opportunity to utilize visual processing to support the extraction of meaning and text relationships in an intuitive and alternative way.

TextArc does its unique visualization job by displaying every word at once. In this way the eye is able to perceive and identify text relationships and word connections that would be otherwise impossible to see. Undoubtedly TextArc provides a new way to create meaning out of content and to investigate lexical relationships and patterns otherwise invisible to the normal human reader.

TextArc while displaying the whole content visually through a rich text map, TextArc reads word by word the content at hand and the reader can follow the story as it is highlighted by a shining ray threading through the text content map. Simple function buttons allow to see hide and show additional text search components like the number of instances for every word and more.

An overview of TextArc technology and features can be accessed through a FREE Acrobat PDF document accessible at:

You can view a number of impressive screenshots demonstrating the power of TextArc by going to:

While at present only the full content of Hamlet and Alice in Wonderland are accessible on this site, more classical literary works are in the process of being processed and made available.

This technology should offer an interesting instrument to avid readers and literary critics, while offering a new fascinating set of options for cataloguing content to librarians and archivists.



TextArc requires a capable machine to display all of its power.
Officially this is what is required:
*600 Mhz Pentium III or faster
*1024 x 768 pixel screen or higher resolution,
*16 bit color Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows XP operating systems
*256 Mb of RAM
*A fast internet connection
*No other memory-intensive programs running
*Netscape 6.2 (the most recent) browser (RECOMMENDED for fastest Java) or Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or 6 browser (slower, but workable)

TextArc is currently being modified to run on other machines including recent, fast Macs. Feel free to try it but don't be surprised if it does not work. (It has been seen running on Netscape 6 on a Mac.)

Some of the examples are very demanding in terms of memory and processing required and therefore WILL NOT run on all machines. Quite frankly I have had a beautiful experience with no crashes or slowdowns with a significantly less capable machine and while using Windows 98, but you have been warned.

Access the online TextArc demos at the following URLs:


Alice in Wonderland

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posted by Robin Good on Sunday, June 30 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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