Blog Post #4 – Voyant Tools

Through my exploration of the program ‘Voyant Tools’ I’ve discovered that they first of all are just tools. Voyant tools, along with other digital text analysis tools are just tools. What this essentially means is that these digital text analysis sites do not do the work of actually analyzing the text for you. What it does do is gives an almost surface value analysis of the text, looking for things such as common words, phrases, correlations, and such, but not much deeper than that. As historians we can make use of this surface value information to find a deeper meaning into the text comparison or analysis, but if we don’t, the digital text analysis tools are not much use. 7q9w4cyr1r3edmpy6dc0_400x400

However, despite that negative, these digital text analysis tools are easy to use and can segway into a deeper look into a topic. The site Voyant tools is super easy to use, you just take two texts (or even just one) and copy and paste them into the box, or upload them and then a simple analysis with patterns and other generic information comes up. This is good because as a historian not only is it simple to use and efficient for quick uses, but it helps get a more basic understanding of the connections between a text in order to take that further. It becomes a tool that historians would not typically use  or necessarily want to access from a ‘traditional historian’ aspect because of all the digitalization around it. What I’m essentially getting at is historians are most often the type of people that read something, take notes, read the other paper, take notes, and then compare the two for similarities, differences, patterns, etc. However, these sites are able to do those generic things for you which goes against the traditional historical analysis ideal. It’s interesting that it goes against it because the site Voyant Tools was such an interesting way to look at the two poem’s that we did, because had I not known about the digital text analysis tools I never would have otherwise thought to use them but rather stick to my traditional historical analysis techniques.

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My personal experience with Voyant was quite eye opening. While yeah, it didn’t give me a close, deep analysis of the two poems, it gave me a look into a program I never would have thought to look into. The simpleanalysis that it did comparing specific words in the poems, and the different ways that you could see those patterns displayed was quite eye opening. As a very traditional person, I just write everything down. However, not only did this site save me time and energy, it allowed me to look at the patterns in multiple different formations giving me different links and views to the connected words and patterns which I found really interesting. What I am essentially taking from this digital text analysis website isthat even though it can’t do all the deep analysis for me, it is an easy and time saving way for historians to begin segwaying into their paper by letting the site do the easy analyzing for you.

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