Voyant Tools is a program that analyzes a body of text and returns key words, word usage and other helpful data. This makes it easy for the user to quickly find out key information and themes. The program will give you a summery of where a specific keyword appears and at what frequency throughout the text. The tool also allows the user to get information that surrounds the word such as the words it appears in conjunction most often with and gives the most used phrases.
An example of this I did on the Treaty of Versailles
This can be particularly helpful to historians. Documents from the past can be analyzed to see how language was used. Voyant allows us to see how the use of words has changed and could also help us better understand how people communicated and articulated their thoughts through language. The tool would be ideal for quickly analyzing large bodies of text to get a sense of how the text is fundamentally put together. This is something new that the tool offers that would take a historian a lot longer to do and could also help the historian to quickly get a broad idea of the text.
There are a few ways however that the tool could hinder a Historian’s view. The use of the tool may lead the historian to thinking they get the general idea of the article leading them to think they don’t have to read the text because they have the general idea. This could also lead to the historian making broad assumptions about the text as Voyant only gives small amounts of information around the text not the whole ideas that the text contains.
Overall, I think the tool is very interesting, but use of the tool for historians is a bit of a double-edged sword.