Background: Word-clouds recently emerged on the web as a solution for quickly summarizing text by maximizing the display of most relevant terms about a specific topic in the minimum amount of space. As biologists are faced with the daunting amount of new research data commonly presented in textual formats, word-clouds can be used to summarize and represent biological and/or biomedical content for various applications.
Results: Genes2WordCloud is a web application that enables users to quickly identify biological themes from gene lists and research relevant text by constructing and displaying word-clouds. It provides users with several different options and ideas for the sources that can be used to generate a word-cloud. Different options for rendering and coloring the word-clouds give users the flexibility to quickly generate customized word-clouds of their choice.
Methods: Genes2WordCloud is a word-cloud generator and a word-cloud viewer that is based on WordCram implemented using Java, Processing, AJAX, mySQL, and PHP. Text is fetched from several sources and then processed to extract the most relevant terms with their computed weights based on word frequencies. Genes2WordCloud is freely available for use online; it is open source software and is available for installation on any web-site along with supporting documentation at http://www.maayanlab.net/G2W.
Conclusions: Genes2WordCloud provides a useful way to summarize and visualize large amounts of textual biological data or to find biological themes from several different sources. The open source availability of the software enables users to implement customized word-clouds on their own web-sites and desktop applications.