Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Discover Names

Today I'll introduce to you to one of our new projects at our research unit: The Nameling

The Nameling was developed in the need for finding a given name (which of course should be nice and enjoyable). It turned out that finding a nice name wasn't that difficult - but all names which we found pleasant, were also popular in our neighbourhood. Being busy at work with mining patterns in huge data sets, the idea for mining pleasant names was born.

Currently, the Nameling implements a similarity search for given names, based on co-occurrences in the English and German version of Wikipedia (as a hidden feature, you can also access similarities emerging from the French version). This allows you, for example, to browse for names which fit to a name you like. Whenever possible, we also extracted corresponding categories for names from Wikipedia, allowing you to browse through all names within a given category:

By clicking on the lovely butterfly, you can add names to your list of favourite names. You can also share your favourites with some of your friends, for collaboratively searching for your "best fit":

The Nameling gives you also access to further background information (at least a link to a corresponding Wikipedia article, if available). This comprises popularity rankings obtained from Wikipedia and Twitter, distribution of names over time as extracted from person data in Wikipedia and co-occurrences displayed as a graph whose nodes you can expand by a mouse click for navigating within the co-occurrence network.

Of course: We are a research unit and we want to go further. The Nameling currently implements a first and simple measure of similarity. We will make use of the Nameling's query logs to improve rankings and similarities. We will look for emerging patterns and correlations between user profile information and name preferences. The Nameling is still a very young project and surely needs improvements - but it already yields some astonishing results. Try it out yourself!

Happy browsing!

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