This project arose out of a simple desire to find the number of occurrences of the word "meaning" in the first few chapters of Moby-Dick. I wrote a simple script to find instances of the word in one of the Project Gutenberg editions of the text. From there, I decided it would be neat to be able to find occurrrences of any word easily, and by chapter. So I tossed the data into a database. Then I figured it'd be useful to be able to chart the occurrenses of words visually, and a Google Charts representation of word-frequency was born. Then I thought it would be good to be able to see the searched-for words within their context, so I slurped in the actual text (not just indexed word counts by chapter) of Moby-Dick.
And that's where the site stands now. I could see adding other features -- such as the ability to search for multiple words at once and view their frequency charts on one screen, or the ability to highlight searched-for words within the accompanying text -- but for now, it is what it is.
I had need of the word frequency count while working on ideas for content to post to the Infinite Zombies blog as part of an online group read of Moby-Dick taking place in the late Spring of 2010.