This post is no longer relevant as I switched tag cloud systems.
One aspect of the Sciencebase science blog that seems to be of perennial interest to regular visitors is the cloud of keywords to the right of the page. This tag cloud changes continually as new posts appear in the blog, shifting the emphasis on that part of the page between the various categories and subject areas that I cover.
So, how does it work, that’s the usual question from visitors. Well, it’s presumably obvious insofar as the size and shade of each keyword in the cloud reflects the number of posts associated with a particular tag. size and shade of each word reflects how many entries there are in my blog with a particular tag. Hence, chemistry is big and black because I’ve posted lots of chemistry entries whereas the word worm is small and so faintly gray as to be almost invisible as there are only very few entries with that tag. This particular post is in “Geek”, so it will have added a small amount of extra weight to that keyword in the cloud. Mouseover each tag in the cloud to see how many articles are available under that tag (I’ve not tagged up all articles though, so those are only numbers for those posts that have appeared since the switch to WordPress).
Anyway, lots of blogging software has plugins or builtin functionality to create such a tag cloud, so search the web for that phrase (tag cloud) together with the name of your blogger to find out how to add it. The Sciencebase blog uses the amazing Ultimate Tag Warrior together with a clever bit of extra coding in the template file to create this ephemeral and ever-changing menu.
September 2008 update: Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed the tag cloud has been missing for a while now. I disabled UTW some time ago and am now using Simple Tags and working my way through 1500 posts on Sciencebase to add useful tags and to resurrect the tag cloud at a later date. Watch this space.