Post 4 Ziyang Guo

The Voyant Tools is efficient to find patterns in large amount of texts, its shows frequency of words in matter of seconds. The result can be shown in a chart to be easily understand. However, I for one disagree it is a useful tool for historians analyze. First, computer language dose not understand or process human emotion, a sentence can be full of sadness, humor, sarcasm and anger that are also critical to the thesis statement. Theses emotions can make part of the article more important than the rest without showing keywords in high frequency. The only way to read the book with full understanding to the authors idea is doing it the old way, page by page, line by line. I doubt any useful insight can be made simply relying on Voyant tools, the only way thing I believe it will find is a style of writing, vocabulary preference, grammar preference. This can be useful for review purpose, such as newspaper editor, journalist, novelist and professors. The Voyant tool can show things they miss, or find problems they did not know. Such as the over focus on none central topic, the unbalanced of sections. These are the benefit that Voyant tools bring us, it still cannot read a book for us, but it’s a great assistance to us, we can have a rough idea of what the book is about in a very short time, we can then decide if this book is useful or related to our research. This new approach can save us tremendous time, especially for primary source that are hundred to thousand page long, with no abstract or blurry abstract, this tool will be a highly efficient short cut. Technology such as Voyant tool is start to show what technology can do for historians, its possible that in the soon future, computer program can summarize a whole book in second, analyze its references in second, or even question the weakness of the thesis statement. There are much more to expect.


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